An Autumn Wild Mushroom Tourte
Coulemelles (Parasols) at the St. Antoine Market, Lyon France
Wild mushrooms are basically my favorite thing about early autumn in Lyon. We hunt them ourselves in the Alps, but when in town, they come to us. All kinds. At the early cusp of any mushroom's season, when it is just about to go into full swing, you will see mushrooms coming in from Russia and Sweden from the vegetable resellers, but once the local season gets going, many many mushrooms come straight from the fields and forests within a couple of hours from Lyon.
When I look for mushrooms at the market, I always walk the entire market to see what people are offering, and their prices. The best mushrooms are on the producers stands. Having been picked recently and changed hands only once, they are often in much better condition than the ones that get stacked and traded by the crateful in warehouses. One thing I like to do is ask the provenance of the mushrooms I see. If I get a straight answer, it's a good sign.
Chanterelles, cepes, & mousserons
There are so many kinds of wild mushrooms to choose from right now at Lyon's outdoor markets. I look for whole unbruised clean specimens, and check them carefully for signs of insect damage. I always ask myself how easily I can clean a mushroom before I buy it. If it's a kind of mushroom that does not take kindly to a water bath, I try and avoid specimens that are covered with dirt or mud. I know from experience that many mushrooms, when gathered carefully, can be gathered in tact and clean. If mushrooms are bruised, waterlogged, or muddy, they get a pass from me.
When I prepare my autumn tourtes, depending on prices and good specimens available, I always get some cultivated mushrooms to round out my selection. A few shitake are always good, and the brown button mushrooms, but also just average champignon de Paris is a very good compliment to wild mushrooms like chanterelles or girolles.
An Autumn Wild Mushrooms Tourte
400 g pumpkin or autumn squash
1 large onion
3 mild red peppers
80 g unsalted butter
300 g sausage meat, this should be your favorite fresh sausage
150 ml creme fraiche salt and pepper, to season
250-800 g mushrooms, mix of wild and cultivated
parsley and chives, to season
300 g puff pastry
egg glaze, 1 egg, beaten
Slice the squash into 1cm or 1/2 inch cubes, and mince the onions and shallots. Sauté them in 20 grams of butter, along with the sausage which has been removed from its casing, for 15 minutes, until the onions soften, the squash gets soft, and the sausage is cooks through and browns. Set aside.
Clean the wild mushrooms and cut the button mushrooms into quarters. Sauté the button mushrooms first, then add the wild mushrooms, seasoning with salt and pepper. Cook until they release their juice and the juice then reduces again. Add cream and toss, allowing that too to evaporate. Add the herbs last, and cook until they are just wilted.
Roll out the puff pastry to a size slightly larger than your buttered tourte pan or pastry ring. You can roll it into a circular shape or a square shape, either way. Drape the dough over the pan or ring, fitting it carefully inside without stretching it, and then spread the butternut mixture over the bottom. Heap the top with the mushrooms in cream and then fold the excess dough over the top, leaving a hole in the middle to allow for evaporation during cooking.
Brush egg wash over the entire upper surface. Bake at 200C/400F for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove the tourte from the pan or ring and slice into wedges to serve, hot or after cooling.