This lovely little stew came about from a fortuitous and pretty unusual for June discovery of this appropriately named fungus. Related to the familiar horse and field mushrooms (and the standard cultivated mushroom) it stands much prouder than these. It has a delicate aroma of bitter almonds, along with a strong mushroom flavour and these carry well through cooking. The sage in this recipe also helps to emphasise the taste. Of course, you could just use another kind of mushroom … it depends what you can find. This went very well with some fresh, new season peas and carrots and crushed new potatoes with spring onion tops.
One very large, flat mushroom (at least 15 cm cap diameter) or smaller mushrooms to roughly equivalent size, wiped and sliced; one cooking chorizo chopped into small dice; 1 large slice fennel, finely chopped; 1 tbsp sliced spring onion tops; 1 tbsp chopped sage leaves; ¼ pint ale; 1 tsp cider vinegar; 2 tsp chopped parsley; 2 eggs, poached; 1 tsp olive oil
Warm the olive oil in a heavy based pan or casserole then add the chorizo and cook until just staring to colour. Then add the mushrooms, spring onion tops, fennel and half the sage. As the mushrooms begin to soften add the beer and vinegar and bring to the boil. Reduce for a minute or so then turn down the heat. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Stir in the parsley and the rest of the sage and season to taste. Using a slotted spoon place portions of the stew onto plates then turn up the heat again to reduce further the remaining liquor. Pour the reduced liquid onto the mushrooms and top with a poached egg.