Roasted mushrooms

Cooking with verjuice

Cooking with verjuice, 151pp.
compiled by Maggie Beer
Penguin Group, Melbourne, 2001
Cooking on page 32

Maggie Beer is one of Australia’s best-known food personalities. She’s a self-taught cook who has worked tirelessly to increase and promote the wonderful produce available in South Australia’s Barossa Valley.

Her enthusiasm—in books and on television—has drawn people into their kitchens. And she’s introduced a wide range of interesting food products to domestic and international markets. For starters, she’s big on quinces, pheasants and verjuice.

I’m thrilled to have this book, which is a compilation of verjuice recipes from Aussie chefs. My friend, Marion, gave it to me as a thank-you gift for minding Tash and Merlin, her schnauzers, while she and her hubby holidayed in South Australia. On their way back to Canberra, they paid a visit to Maggie’s shop in the Barossa. So not only is the book signed by Maggie herself, it  came with a lovely bottle of verjuice.

The day this book arrived, I had everything I needed to tackle page-32, with a recipe contributed by Victorian chef, Stefano de Pieri.

Roasted mushrooms

Roasted mushrooms

Ingredients
400 g field mushrooms
400 g Swiss brown mushrooms
175 ml verjuice
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley stalks
1 tablespoon freshly chopped oregano
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
extra parsley
extra-virgin olive oil (optional)

Mushrooms to roast

Method
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut all the mushrooms into quarters and transfer to a large, shallow baking dish. Combine the remaining ingredients except the extra parsley and the olive oil and pour over the mushrooms.

Roast the mushrooms until cooked through, this may take up to an hour. Transfer dish to the stovetop and reduce the cooking liquid by three-quarters. Finish with a sprinkling of chopped parsley and a little olive oil to moisten the dish, if required. Serves 6.

Verjuice

How it played out
I had 375 grams each of the two mushrooms and plenty of fresh parsley and oregano in the garden, so this was a snap to make. The roasting did take almost an hour.

Although the instructions didn’t say so, I removed the mushrooms from the pan before reducing the liquid. I think that was the right thing to do. By the way, the reduction went very quickly, so it’s important to keep an eye on it. I then poured the reduced liquid over the mushrooms.

Verdict
These mushrooms are a great introduction to verjuice, and inspire me to find more ways to use this little-known ingredient, which is made from unripe grapes.

Chef Stefano says he uses verjuice in cooking instead of white white, which he finds too acerbic. He says it goes well with fish and poultry, and is his signature ingredient in all risotto bases, instead of wine.

It’s got a great flavour, but I have to tell you—the verjuice reduction is sensational.

P.S. For clarity, I made a few minor changes to the method instructions.

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About leggypeggy

Intrepid overland traveller, keen photographer, avid cook—known to jump out of airplanes and do other silly things. Do not act my age.
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9 Responses to Roasted mushrooms

  1. Gotta Love Maggie Beer’s recipes, true!
    VERY innovative in marketing her home grown verjuice and agree is delish too!
    GREAT photos! Cheers! Joanne

  2. skippersy says:

    I love mushrooms, so this recipe got my attention. However, I am a terrible eater and do not consume apples, sweet wine, grapes… so Verjuice is not for me. But for everyone else, it should be a great ingredient to try and use, in various recipes. Googling I read up on Verjuice and how it can be used… and as you write, good for fish and poultry. Bottles can be found in specialty stores in NYC and about $20 US. I will mention this interesting Verjuice alternative to white wine to my brother who loves to cook.

    • leggypeggy says:

      I don’t like sweet wine either, so you might find verjuice tastes okay. Get your brother to try it first and advise. 🙂 I bet lemon juice would work okay too. By the way, I’m glad it costs a lot less in Australia.

  3. skippersy says:

    Humm, good tip to try lemon juice. And I have a bottle of Marsala Wine, which might work for me…? Thinking of using in this mushroom recipe.. and maybe making a Chicken Marsala Dish; everyone else can try Verjuice, which should create a good recipe and a different taste.

  4. skippersy says:

    Well, I made this recipe my way, using Marsala Dry Wine and squeezed in lemon juice. The mushrooms tasted lemony, sour and I like this type of taste. But sorry to say, I would not make this recipe again. Perhaps using Verjuice would be the best way to go… PLEASE do not kick me off this blog !

  5. Pingback: Tomato, saffron and verjuice soup with prawns and chervil | What's cooking on page 32

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