Croute aux Champignons

What I like about autumn: soaking up the last of the days sun rays with my back against the warm wall of the house; listening to the wind howling outside while I’m writing; first fondue of the season; afternoon walks through the meadows and being home just in time before the rain; candlelight; moving the big cushion to the fireplace and reading a captivating book; red wine; trying the new wine; apple tart; stealing apples from low hanging branches; montdor cheese; wearing my woolsey jumper; the smell of mushrooms drying on the stove; being up when the sun rises; mist over the river; splashing puddles; late afternoon light tinting the land copper, gold and crimson.

It has rained a lot and the meadows are full of pink champignons, so here’s the obvious autumnal croute aux champignons, it’s just perfect for a rainy day as it is creamy and rich. Something I definitely like about autumn.

What you’ll need

  • 7-10 well sized fresh pink field champignons, if you’re not familiar with foraging for mushrooms please get them checked at your local pharmacy. You may also use store bought brown champignons.
  • One medium sized shallot, finely chopped
  • 30g fresh farm butter
  • 1dl vin jaune or sherry
  • salt and ground white pepper
  • a whiff of nutmeg
  • 1dl rich cream or crème fraiche
  • a handful of finely chopped parsley
  • one traditional baguette
  • some more butter for toasting

How to cook it

Slice the mushrooms about 3mm slices, place in a wide cast iron pan and brown at medium heat from all sides, adding no oil or butter, as the purpose is to get the damp out of them. This takes about 7-10 minutes. Set aside in a small bowl. Reduce the heat to low temperature, add butter and shallot and glaze for another 7-10 minutes, add the mushrooms and increase the heat to maximum, deglaze with the wine and let simmer for 5 minutes, season with salt and pepper and grate some nutmeg over it. Take off the heat and add the cream and the parsley, mix well. Cut the baguette in three, slice open and toast the pieces in butter in a frying pan. Transfer to a plate and evenly spread the mushroom sauce on the slices.

How to eat it

Wind howling outside and spattering rain running down the window panes, you may also light one of those old-fashioned petroleum lamps, it may seem dark at first but your eyes will adapt quickly. Vin Jaune for me, if you like it a little softer, aged chardonnay. Enjoy!