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A PASSION FOR MUSHROOMS

A PASSION FOR MUSHROOMS

Antonio Carluccio may have a Passion for Mushrooms, but I have a passion for him: his exuberance and enthusiasm is contagious and inspiring. The recipe I've chosen from his famous mushroom book - first published in 1989 - may not be for everyone, but those few who salivate just at the title Offal with Wild Mushrooms are in for a rare treat!

by Antonio Carluccio (Pavilion Books Limited, 1989)

Offal with Wild Mushrooms

This dish could certainly be regarded as 'the crowning glory' for anyone who likes offal because I have bought together almost all of the possible components of this tasty subject in one recipe.  As an Italian I find it difficult to understand how someone who likes liver may not like tripe, or how someone who likes kidneys may not like sweetbreads or lung.  In all European cusines, and especially that of the Italians and French, the use of offal is widespread and common.  One day I would like to see many more people eating more of these tasty morsels.

INGREDIENTS

Serves 10

  • 200g/7oz pig's heart
  • 200g/7oz pig's kidneys
  • 200g/7oz liver
  • 200g/7oz calves' sweetbreads
  • 200g/7oz pig's lung
  • 200g/7oz lard
  • 1 large glass of red wine
  • 20g/2/3oz dried porcini and 20g/3/4oz dried morels. soaked for 20 minutes and cut into small pieces (retain the soaking water) or 250g/8oz fresh mushrooms, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tube tomato puree
  • 2 whole hot chilli peppers, cut into small pieces
  • 6 fresh bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cloves

For serving

  • 1½litres/3pt stock or water
  • 8 slices of toasted wholemeal bread

 

METHOD

  1. Wash all the offal under running water and remove any skin and gristle.  Poach the sweetbreads in hot water for a few minutes.  Cut the offal into small chunks about 1cm/½in sqaure.
  2. Heat the lard in a heavy casserole, add the pieces of offal and fry over a strong heat, browning the pieces all over - this will take about 10 minutes.  Add the glass of wine and allow it to evaporate a little before adding the mushrooms, a little of the mushroom soaking water, the tomato puree, the chillies, the bay leaves, salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Reduce the heat to moderate and cook for a further 30 minutes.  Leave everything to cool and set overnight.
  3. To serve, the following day or whenever (this dish is excellent for freezing), spoon the solid mixture into a saucepan, add the stock or water and bring to the boil. The proportions are 2 heaped tablespoonsful of meat to 150ml/5fl oz/2/3US cup of liquid. Place some toasted wholemeal bread in the bottom of a soup dish, pour the hot mixture over it and serve straight away. it is simply delicious, especially in winter; it is not really a soup, although, of course, you can serve it as such.