From a Polish Country House Kitchen's Twice-Cooked Wild Mushrooms


[Photograph: Bogdan Bialy]

Wild mushrooms play a huge role in Eastern European cuisine. As Anne Applebaum and Danielle Crittenden describe in their elaborate introduction to the fungus in From A Polish Country House Kitchen, mushroom gathering is a central part of rural Polish life.

During foraging season, mushrooms appear on the Polish table in many forms. They can be sauteed, pickled, and simmered into soups. These Twice-Cooked Wild Mushrooms present a unique technique: the 'shrooms are first boiled basically to smithereens. Once totally tender, they take a trip to a skillet with butter, onions, and dill to become even more silky smooth before being finished with sour cream.

Why I picked this recipe: This two-step mushroom cooking process was a new one, and the promise of silky smooth mushrooms was too good to pass up.

What worked: The final dish was indeed soft, supple, and creamy.

What didn't: I would have liked to introduce a bit of white wine into the mix before adding the sour cream. As written, the mushrooms sucked up much of the sour cream before serving, leaving little to no sauce.

Suggested tweaks: This method would work with any manner of mushrooms. You could also change the herb profile to suit your taste; thyme would be particularly nice here.

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of From a Polish Country House Kitchen to give away this week.