450g/1lb chestnut mushrooms, sliced
1 shallot, finely chopped
300ml/1/2pt full-fat milk
30ml/2tbsp plain flour
30ml/2tbsp chopped fresh chives
salt and ground black pepper
120ml/8 tbsp single cream
1. Melt half the butter in a large pan, add the shallot and mushrooms and sauté for 5 mins. Add the water, cover and cook gently, for 15 minutes, until tender.
2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender and whizz until smooth. If liked you can now push the puree through a sieve to give a finer texture.
3. Return the mushroom mixture to the pan, add the milk, butter and flour. Slowly bring to the boil, stirring with a balloon whisk until he mixture boils and thickens. Season to taste then stir in half the cream.
4. Divide between bowls then serve with the remaining cream swirled over.
Some people say that you shouldn’t wash mushrooms – the point is that you shouldn’t let then soak up water; there is a significant difference in these statements. Firstly mushrooms are about 75% water and if left in water will soak up water like a sponge and then release this when cooking. So the best way to overcome this is to clean the mushrooms with a small brush if dirty, then rinse under running water, pat dry and use immediately.
When it comes to the cooking different types, start with a hot pan with a little oil add the toughest and biggest first, the gradually add the smaller ones finishing with the ones that only need seconds to cook. Remember the longer and slower mushrooms cook the more water they release, making them tougher. Therefore cook them quickly in a hot pan a few at a time, then drain them and retain any liquor. This can be later introduced back into the dish.