Mushroom ragout is characterized by an intense mushroom taste. The ragout combines well with the bitter notes of the three vegetables in the salad it is resting on. The salad is covered with an orange juice based dressing with mustard, dill, vinegar and honey that provides intense freshness and sweet and bitter notes. There are many variations possible, but always put your heart into making it. Use as much as possible fresh, self-selected mushrooms and vegetables and make the dressing from scratch. Allow enough time for the onions and mushrooms to cook to provide this intense mushroom flavor. Be always careful with too much salt and pepper in a mushroom ragout. The delicate mushroom flavor can easily be spoiled.
The art of making this mushroom ragout starter
Preparing a mushroom ragout is really not that much work, but some effort may go into the preparation of the French pastry (puff pastry) that holds the ragout. If you have the option, you could buy puff pastry leafs that can be used to form the small containers. Often these are offered based on palm oil or margarine and if you prefer the butter based puff-pastry, then make it yourself as described in food base essentials.
The other important focus point is the type and freshness of the mushrooms. Always opt to get fresh mushrooms. In this recipe we use a mixture of chestnut, oyster and porcini mushrooms, but chanterelles and other wild mushrooms can also work very well.
For the broth a vegetable broth is perfectly suitable, but if you have it at hand a chicken broth combines also very well.
Finally, if you can, use fresh herbs in the dressing.
Making the puff pastry container
- 4 4x4 inch puff pastry leafs
- 1 egg
Making the mushroom ragout
- 1/2 lb mixed mushrooms chestnut, oyster, porcini or others
- 1/4 cup (50 gram) all purpose flour
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- 2 tbsp butter or olive oil (as you prefer)
- small bunch of parsley.
- 2 twigs of thyme
- several sage leaves
- sea salt
- freshly gound pepper
- 1/3 cup full cream milk
- 5.3 oz (150 g) onion
- 1 small Belgian endive
- 1/3 red pepper (cut in small pieces)
- 0.5 oz (15 g) rucula leaves
- 1 tsp musterd (Dijon)
- 2 tbsp freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 tbsp red balsamic vinegar
- 2 tsp honey
- sea salt
- 2 twigs of fresh dill
- 3 tbsp olive oil virgin
- 1 oz (30 g) sesame seeds
Making the puff pastry containers
- Make four 1 inch cuts with a knife at the right and left hand sides of each square puff pastry leaf, 1 inch below the top side and 1 inch above the bottom end of the pastry leaf.
- Prepare a clutched egg and a brush
- Then fold each leaf into a square container of puff pastry dough
- Brush each of the sides with the mixed egg mixture
- Place the containers for 15 min in a pre-heated oven of 200 C
- They wil first collapse, but later puff up
- Take them out of the oven and let cool down
- Cut out holes in the middle, so they can be filled
Making the mushroom ragout
- Dice the onion
- Cut the mushrooms into small parts
- Wash, dry and cut very fine the dill and the parsley
- Prepare the washed thyme and sage leafs
- Place the butter or olive oil in a pan of appropriate size and heat up
- Add the diced onion, first on medium fire for 3-5 minutes while often stirring; then simmer on low for 30 minutes. Ensure the onions remain yellow and do not become black or burned
- Add the thyme and sage leaves
- Then add the mushrooms and first on medium heat smother them followed by a slow simmer for 30 minutes. The mush rooms will release their juices.
- Add the parsley and the flour, mix with a whisk
- Add the milk at medium heat, continuously stir until the mixture becomes very viscous. Put heat on low and wait for a few minutes, while stirring.
- Add so much of the broth that the mixture becomes more fluid, but remains thick. Let the mixture cook for at the least 5 minutes and if needed let some of the liquid steam off, all the time vigorously stirring.
- Bring to taste with pepper and salt. The mixture should be thicker than an average bechamel based sauce.
- Let cool down with a lid on and heat up, just before serving the dish
Prepare the dressing
- Place the mustard in a small bowl
- Add the orange juice, the vinegar, the honey, dill, salt and pepper and stir well
- Add the olive oil and mix thoroughly
Toasting the sesame seeds
- Place the seeds in a pan and heat, while constantly moving the seeds over the bottom of the pan. When the seeds start popping, lower the heat but still stir until the seeds have become two shades darker
- Let them cool in a separate container
Making up the final dish
- Place four belgian endive leafs from the center out on one half of a plate, place some rucula leaves on the other side and sprinkle the red pepper pieces in the middle
- Dribble the dressing over the vegetables
- Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds over the vegetables
- Place the (re-heated) puff pastry cups on the salad leafs
- Fill the cups with the re-heated mushroom ragout and serve out.
- The re-heating of the pastry cups is optional. The crispyness of the dough will improve by doing it
- No need to place ragout filled pastry cups in the oven.