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Another 18th century recipe from “The Universal Cook”. This one titled “To Fricassee Mushrooms.”
This seemed pretty simple, plus I love mushrooms. And it would go just perfectly with the braised lamb chops I was making for dinner. I opted not to add the cream, and I added a bit of grated nutmeg rather than small pieces that I would have to remove later. And again keep in mind that the onions they are talking about were small, around two inches diameter.
And of course, this recipe has one of my major annoyances. They give (some) measurement for the minor ingredients, but no mention at all of how much of the major ingredient. It’s quite common though, so you learn to wing it.
- 1/2-3/4 pound Mushrooms
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp flour (approx)
- 1 small onion (approx 2" diameter)
- 3 cloves
- 2 Tbsp parsley, roughly chopped
- Grated nutmeg, to taste
- 3 Tbsp cream, optional
- Trim the stems of the mushrooms and wipe them with a soft cloth. If using brown mushrooms with a thick skin, you may peel them by rubbing them upward from the bottom edges. If they are opened, the author instructs to scrape the inside (removing the gills).
- Place the mushrooms in a bowl of salted water. Move them around once or twice to get them all wet, and to remove any residual dirt. you can leave them to soak for a few minutes, or as long as you need while you are preparing other things.
- When ready to cook them, remove them from the water. Discard the water. If the mushrooms are relatively large, you may choose to cut them in half now.
- Form the butter into a ball, and roll it in the flour. Set aside.
- Peel the onion, and stick the cloves in it, set aside.
- Place the mushrooms in a saucepan, and add clean salted water to almost cover them. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer until they are tender. This may take 15-20 minutes.
- Add the butter, stirring until it has melted.
- Add the onion, the parsley, grated nutmeg, and cream if using.
- Simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally.
- Keep on low heat until ready to serve, discarding the onion with the cloves.
J. W. Francis Collingwood, The Universal Cook. R. Noble, 1797.