Kathy Gunst Cooks Up Mushrooms And A New Book

Download Audio
In "Notes From a Maine Kitchen: Seasonally Inspired Recipes," Here and Now resident chef Kathy Gunst goes month by month, and presents essays and recipes using produce that's in season for all times of the year.

October is mushrooms and apples, so Kathy shares with us her mushroom foraging adventures, a new technique for mushroom soup and an easy way to make apple cider jelly.

See her recipes for Sautéed Matsutake "Pasta" with Parmesan Cheese, Roasted Wild-Mushroom Soup, Apple Cider Jelly and Grilled Gruyere with Maple-Caramelized Apples below.

Sautéed Matsutake "Pasta" with Parmesan Cheese (pdf/printer friendly)

(Jesse Costa/Here & Now)
(Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

[sidebar title="Kathy's Note" width="600" align="center"]You can try this recipe with any type of wild mushroom, but if you slice fresh matsutakes thinly, sauté them with good olive oil and garlic, and then serve them with a dusting of Parmigiano Reggiano, you will swear you’re eating fresh pasta. Serve with warm, crusty bread.[/sidebar]

8 matsutake or porcini, or fresh wild mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, optional
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Clean the mushrooms with a damp paper towel to remove any dirt and debris. Cut off about ½-inch from the bottom of the stem, and then thinly slice the mushrooms and the remaining stems.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 10 seconds. Add the mushrooms, rosemary (if you like), salt, and pepper, and cook about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown and beginning to soften.
Remove from the skillet and sprinkle with the Parmesan. Season to taste and serve immediately.

Serves 2.

Roasted Wild-Mushroom Soup

Kathy Gunst's mushroom soup. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)
Kathy Gunst's mushroom soup. (Jesse Costa/Here & Now)

[sidebar title="Kathy's Note" width="600" align="center"]Use portabellas or shiitakes, cepes, or any wild mushrooms you can find for this earthy, creamy soup.[/sidebar]

1 pound fresh portabella mushrooms
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 medium onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
2 tablespoons dry sherry or red wine
5 cups vegetable, chicken, or beef stock
a touch of heavy cream, crème fraîche or yogurt, optional
Parsley (optional for garnish)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Gently clean the mushrooms using a moist paper towel. Cut the bottom ½-inch off the stems and then cut the mushrooms into chunks.

Grease the bottom of a medium to large roasting pan or ovenproof skillet with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, thyme, rosemary, and remaining oil and stir well.

Roast on the middle oven shelf for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the roasting pan from the oven and pour the sherry into the pan, scraping up any bits clinging to the bottom of the pan.

Transfer the mixture to a medium-large pot and season to taste. Add the stock. Let cool a minute or two.

Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and, working in batches, puree the mushroom mixture and all the juices, blending until smooth, but taking care when blending hot liquids.

Reheat and add a touch of cream, crème fraîche, or plain yogurt, if desired. The soup really doesn't need much! Serve hot with crusty bread.

Serves 4 to 6.

Grilled Gruyere with Maple-Caramelized Apples (pdf/printer friendly)

[sidebar title="Kathy's Note" width="600" align="center"]I like serving this sandwich open-faced for breakfast with cups of strong coffee or for lunch with a seasonal salad. The two sandwich halves (on crusty baguette or slices of your favorite bread) can be served open-faced or they can be put together to make a more traditional-style sandwich. You can also use pears to give this sandwich a twist.[/sidebar]

For the apples:
1 teaspoon salted butter
1 teaspoon olive or safflower oil
1 tart apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoons maple syrup

For the sandwich:
Two (4-inch) pieces of baguette or crusty bread, cut in half lengthwise or 4 slices of your favorite bread
2 1/2 ounces very thinly sliced Gruyere cheese

In a medium skillet heat the butter and oil over low heat. When sizzling, add the apple slices and cook, gently stirring once or twice, for 3 minutes. Drizzle on the maple syrup and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for another 2 minutes, or until the apples are caramelized and just tender, but not mushy. Remove from the heat.

Preheat the broiler.

Place the bread on a small broiler pan. Divide the apples and the syrup in the bottom of the skillet between the four pieces of bread. Place the cheese on top of the apples and place the bread under the broiler. Broil for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbling and melted.

Serves 2 to 4.

Apple Cider Jelly (pdf/printer friendly)

[sidebar title="Kathy's Note" width="600" align="center"]There are some recipes that seem to have more in common with magic than plain old everyday cooking. Apples have lots of natural pectin so one October day I wondered what would happen if I simmered down an entire gallon of good apple cider? The answer: You are left with a gorgeous, amber-colored, natural apple cider jelly. The only catch—this is true slow cooking—it can take up to three hours to transform one gallon of cider into about a cup of jelly, but trust me when I say it’s well worth the time.

Making apple cider jelly is a great project when you’re in the kitchen busy baking cookies or other holiday foods.Serve the jelly as a condiment with holiday roasts—we particularly like it with roast pork, turkey, chicken, lamb, and beef—or on your morning muffins and toast, with squash dishes and even on top of butter cookies. It’s excellent on a sharp cheddar cheese sandwich. Make a few batches and give the cider jelly as a gift.[/sidebar]
Ingredients: One gallon unpasteurized apple cider, with no additives
Instructions:Place the cider in a large, heavy pot and bring to a gentle boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and let simmer for about 2 hours. After about 2 hours the cider will begin to thicken and coat the back of a spoon. This is the time to pay attention. Do not answer the phone—stay focused on the jelly. Keep cooking over a gentle simmer, on very low heat, for another forty-five minutes or until the jam begins to thicken and the syrupy mixture comes to about 190 degrees on a candy thermometer. My jelly took almost three hours to thicken. Let cool and place in a glass jelly jar. Refrigerate. The jelly will keep for several weeks.

Makes about 1 cup.

• For a spicy jelly: place a chile pepper cut in half down the middle into a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up. Place the chile into the cider for the first hour of cooking, and then remove.
• Make a mulled cider jelly: place a cinnamon stick, allspice berries, and three cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and tie it up tightly. Place in the jelly during the first hour of cooking, and then remove.
• For an herbal apple cider jelly: place several leaves of fresh sage, rosemary, and oregano (or any fresh herb) in a piece of cheesecloth and tie up tightly. Place in the cider for the first 1 1/2 hours of cooking time, and then remove.

Recipes from Kathy Gunst’s new book, "Notes from a Maine Kitchen." (Down East Books 2011)

This segment aired on October 13, 2011.


More from Here & Now

Listen Live