Grzyby is the Polish word for mushrooms.
Mushroom gathering in Poland is a National pastime and has been in the past, a source of food and income for many.
Mushrooms can be dried, pickled, salted and marinated.
On those damp misty days in autumn when in England people would think – what a dull day, a Pole would wake up and think – Great, a good day for gathering mushrooms!
Most Poles think the best dried mushrooms are Boletus edulis, in Poland they are called borowik, prawdzik or prawdziwek(translates as – the real thing!), in Italy porcini and I try and use these whenever I can.
Packets of dried mushroom in England tend to be 25g or 30g and can be of mixed types.
My father knew all about mushrooms but never really passed the knowledge on to me – mainly because of the limited availbility of transport to suitable woods around where we lived in Lancashire.
On my first visit to Poland I did go to Białowieża forest and went with a guide and collected lots of mushrooms including chanterelles which in Poland are called kurki.
Dried mushrooms feature in many Polish dishes including ones made for Wigilia – Christmas Eve.
Nowadays, the common field mushroom – Agaricus bisporus – is produced on a huge scale and makes up a large part of commercial mushroom production with Poland being the 3rd biggest producer in Europe, following Italy and The Netherlands.
Mushroom soup in olden days was nearly always made with just dried mushrooms.
I make my soup with both dried and fresh mushrooms.
As with all soups the quantities do not have to be exact.
You can make your own vegetable stock or use cubes or powder.
25-30g of dried mushrooms – Boletus edulis are good.
250g of fresh mushrooms – chestnut type are good.
Around 125ml of soured cream
1 onion – diced
Butter to fry the onion
1 – 1.5 litres of vegetable stock – can be from power or a cube (I use Marigold bouillon)
2 tablespoon of cornflour – optional
Salt & Pepper to taste
Chopped Flat-leaf parsley or chives to garnish
Start the night before by preparing the dried mushrooms.
Put the dried mushrooms in a jug or bowl and add around 250ml of boiling water.
Leave the mushrooms overnight.
Strain the mushrooms from most of the liquor – saving this for later.
Chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces.
Gently simmer the mushrooms in a little of the liquor for about 5 minutes.
Gently fry the diced onion in some butter till they are golden.
Seperate the caps from the stalks of the fresh mushrooms.
Thinly slice the fresh mushroom caps – if the caps are large cut the slices into 2 or 3.
If the stalks are not too “woody” – chop them into very small pieces – otherwise discard them.
Add the mushrooms to the onions, mix and fry gently.
Into a large pan or stockpot, add the onions and mushroom, the re-constituted mushrooms and the liquor from the soaked mushrooms and mix well.
Add the vegetable stock and bring the mixture to the boil, then cover with a lid and leave to simmer.
You could put the pot into a low oven around GM2 – 150°C.
Allow to simmer for a couple of hours.
Add the soured cream and stir gently – check for seasoning.
Mix the cornflour with some of the soured cream, add and stir to thicken, then add the rest of the soured cream.
Sprinkle with chopped parsley or chives to serve.
Served on Royal Doulton – Carnation – 1982 – 1998 & Queen Anne side plates – pattern name unkown.