I can’t express myself enough how happy I was when I saw chanterelle mushrooms in a Polish shop last week. I have been hunting, literally hunting for them for the past two years and haven’t seen them anywhere. I’m sure that if I looked in London I would have found them but since I live in a fairly small town without a proper food market, it simply wasn’t possible for me to get them.
In Polish simply called kurki, chanterelle mushrooms are one of my favourites. Even though they are not traditionally collected by mushroom pickers in my home village in Poland, they do have a very special place in Polish cuisine. Since I was a little girl I always used to go to the forest with my grandma to pick mushrooms. We would walk around for hours, filling our baskets with wild mushrooms. Oh, what a joy it is, finding a small mushroom hidden beneath a leaf!
In Poland, mushroom-picking is quite popular, especially in the areas with forests. Wild mushrooms, like I mentioned before, have a special place in traditional Polish cuisine. They can be eaten in a form of light, cream based sauce, served with bread or in a mushroom soup. There are many ways of preserving wild mushrooms in Poland, too. The most popular ones would be freezing, drying or pickling them. Frozen mushrooms can be later used for soups and sauces; dried are usually kept until Christmas Eve, when the 12-course dinner is traditionally served, all of the courses meatless (with an exception for fish) and with dried mushrooms as one of the key ingredients (barszcz, żurek z grzybami, groch z kapustą, uszka z grzybami – to name just a few).
I was overwhelmed with joy with my discovery of the chanterelle mushrooms in a Polish shop. I couldn’t wait to run home and cook them, in a creamy sauce, with fresh parsley and tagliatelle. And voila! Here is what I’ve created.
200g chanterelle mushrooms
1 pack of tagliatelle
2-3 cloves of garlic
2-3 small shallots
bunch of fresh parsley
150ml double cream, room temperature
2 tbsp butter
freshly ground pepper
HOW TO MAKE?
1. Wash the mushrooms. Since the chanterelle mushrooms are wild mushrooms picked in the forest, there can be some leaves stuck to them. Make sure not to soak the mushrooms for long, wash them quickly and pat dry if necessary. Cut them in chunks, small mushrooms you can leave whole.
2. Chop the onion and garlic finely.
3. Heat up a big frying pan (medium heat) with two tablespoons of butter. When the butter is melted and hot, throw the onion and garlic in, cook until slightly golden. Don’t burn the garlic! Garlic gets very bitter when it’s burnt.
4. Add the mushroom to the frying pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes, stirring from time to time.
5. Boil tagliatelle while the mushrooms are being cooked. It takes about 4-5 minutes to boil the pasta, so try to time your cooking accurately.
6. When the mushrooms are cooked, add the double cream. Make sure your double cream is at room temperature, otherwise it may curdle. Add salt, freshly ground pepper and chopped parsley. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, allowing all the flavours to mix well.
7. Add cooked and drained pasta to the frying pan, at this stage you can also add some grated parmesan cheese (you can also sprinkle parmesan over the pasta later, when served on a plate). Allow the sauce to cover the pasta, it should take less than a minute.
8. Serve immediately, sprinkling with some freshly chopped parsley on top.