Monday, October 08, 2012

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.

chanterelles grises

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 
1-2 shallots 
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.

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Anonymous Coco said...

I love mushrooms, too bad it's so expensive. But since there are so many forests around Lyon it's always fun to pick them rather than buy them. Thanks for the tourte recipe, i'll try that.

2:43 PM, October 08, 2012  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your tourte is just incredible. I have to have a slice-I wish wild mushrooms weren't so expensive here but I may just have to spurge anyway and make this. Nice to hear from you again.

5:01 PM, October 08, 2012  
Anonymous Ann Mah said...

I love this recipe, Lucy, what a gorgeous combination of butternut, sausage, and fungi -- so earthy!

5:13 PM, October 08, 2012  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've been thinking a lot about mushrooms lately, ever since I had a lovely mushroom ravioli dish preceded by broccoli mushroom soup. Time to follow your lead and make something with them. Lovely, Lucy!

6:05 PM, October 08, 2012  

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