Special Issue
Breitenbush Wild Mushroom Conference
October 6 - 9, 2005
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(all © Michael Blackwell or Patrice Benson)

During the food demonstration, Chef Michael Blackwell passed out some of his and Patrice Benson's mushroom recipes. Some were served either at the food demonstration or with a regular meal.

They graciously gave me their permission to include them here:

Mushroom Soup 

8 to 10 servings 

This soup does not require beef broth. It does require onions that have been caramelized heavily to give a dark, sweet flavor. The consistency should be slightly thickened and not even coat the back of a spoon, only enough flour to give body to the liquid but not really thicken. 

6 Tbsp. butter
1 each medium onion, finely chopped
1 pound fresh agaricus* mushrooms, finely chopped
1 oz. dried boletus or porcini mushrooms
½ cup hot water, for rehydrating
¼ cup flour
4 cups beef stock**, beef bouillon, or strong dark vegetable stock
¼ tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
1½ cups or less heavy cream

Melt butter in a large saucepan. Add onion and stir over moderate heat until onion is fully browned and caramelized. Add mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. (While mushrooms are sautéing, soak the dried mushrooms in hot water. I like to soak them 3 or more hours in advance) Blend in flour until mushroom/onion mixture is well coated. Add the stock slowly, stirring continually. After soaking dried mushrooms, finely chop and add along with soaking water when adding stock. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes. Add white pepper and nutmeg. Remove from heat and stir in cream. 

*From the grocer or use whatever fresh edible mushrooms you have on hand. 

**Canned commercial beef stock, bouillon or au jus is the preferred liquid.

Croatian Mushroom Soup with Buckwheat

This recipe was served Friday night 2004 at the Annual Mushroom Conference at Breitenbush Hot Springs. It was very well received and is particularly wonderful if using Matsutakes; nice balance of flavor from Matsutakes, garlic and buckwheat.

1 oz. onions 
2 cloves garlic
12 oz. fresh mushrooms or 6 oz. dried mushrooms
2 oz. buckwheat groats, hulled, toasted
4 Tbsp. sunflower seed oil
1 bay leaf 
½ tsp. salt 
1 Tbsp. vegetable seasoning or liquid aminos 
1 qt. Water or vegetable or mushroom broth 
salt and pepper, to taste 
2 Tbsp. chopped parsley 
1 Tbsp. vinegar
1 cup sour cream

Chop the onion and garlic, slice the mushrooms and wash the buckwheat. Heat the oil and lightly sauté the onion until clear. Add the mushrooms and the garlic and continue to sauté. Add the salt, vegetable seasoning, buckwheat and the bay leaf and cover with water. Simmer gently and just before it is completely cooked give it a taste. Add salt, pepper, chopped parsley, and vinegar to taste. Serve topped with sour cream (optional).

Seared King Boletus Cutlets

This is the first way that I learned to cook and eat Boletus Edulis when I was a cook on a commune in Colorado at the base of Mount Audubon in 1969; a tasty treat and very acceptable steak for dinner or anytime, also a good preservation technique just before freezing.

Olive oil or butter
unsalted garlic, crushed or sliced thin
large thick mushroom slices
salt and pepper to taste
fine brandy, Cognac or sherry

Slice boletus into ¾-inch to 1-inch slices or if using smaller boletes, cut in half lengthwise. Rub mushrooms with garlic. Sprinkle slices with salt and pepper to taste. Use a hot skillet. Keep at medium-high heat so as to not burn or blacken flesh of mushroom but to just sear to golden brown. Spread 1 or 2 Tbsp. of olive oil on hot skillet or griddle. Place thick mushroom slices on oiled hot skillet and let brown to golden on one side. Turn to brown on other side; while browning sprinkle with fine brandy, cognac or sherry. Serve as entree with roasted yellow potatoes and steamed broccoli. Use as meat layer in lasagna. Serve with sweet potato croquettes and almond-brown jasmine rice pilaf. 

Wild Mushroom Frittata (© Patrice Benson)

½ Ib. sliced mushrooms
2 chopped shallots
2 Tbsp. butter
2 Tbsp. olive oil
6 beaten eggs
¾ cup half and half
¼ cup breadcrumbs
¼ cup fresh grated Parmesan, divided into two portions
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh herb, sweet cicely or summer savory or chervil
½ tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper to taste 
small smoked trout, broken into pieces (optional)
12 - 15 asparagus tips or chopped wild greens, lightly steamed

Sauté mushrooms until thoroughly cooked in oil and butter over medium heat for 2 - 4 minutes. Place the optional ingredients and the sautéed mushrooms into a buttered 9 x 13 pan or other similar sized ovenproof decorative serving piece. Mix together remaining ingredients, including half the cheese, and pour over mushrooms and options. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the surface. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for approximately 30 minutes or until firm in the center. Cool slightly before cutting into small pieces for appetizers, or larger squares for main course lunch. Garnish with chive blossoms or other edible flowers and serve warm or at room temperature.

* Mushrooms can be dried, reconstituted morels, shitake, or boletus. To substitute dried for fresh, use 1 oz. dried for ½ Ib. fresh. 

** Fresh mushrooms can include sliced button, brown or large Agaricus bisporus, morels, boletus, shitake, oyster (fairly bland) or other properly identified wild edible mushrooms.

Classic Duxelles Stuffed Wontons in Soup (© Patrice Benson)

Mushroom Duxelles

Duxelles is a mixture of finely chopped mushrooms, shallots and herbs cooked in butter. It is used to flavor soups and sauces, as a garnish, and as a stuffing. Variation: Take a thinly pounded pork chop, veal or chicken cutlet, or even a flank steak. Spoon the precooked duxelles down the center. Roll the meat and then sauté or roast it. 

4 cups morels or other mushrooms, finely chopped
2 Tbsp. butter, unsalted
2 Tbsp. shallots,. finely minced
salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. Madeira or more to taste

Heat the butter to bubbling, then use it to sauté the mushrooms over medium high heat. When the pieces begin to separate from each other - about four to five minutes - add the shallots or scallions and sauté for a little longer. Season to taste. Add the wine and allow it to reduce to enough liquid to just keep the mixture moist. Makes about 1½ cups. 

Won Tons 

Place wrapper on a flat surface. Place about 1 tsp. of duxelles filling on bottom left hand corner of wrapper.  Brush wrapper edge with egg white. Fold wrapper over to create a triangle, press out air from the center and seal edge tightly.  Brush 1 corner of folded edge with egg wash, and bring both corners together and press firmly. 

Won Ton Soup

6 cups light chicken stock or broth
1 Tbsp. Soy sauce, optional
1 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar
½ recipe Won tons
sea salt to taste
2 green onion, sliced thin on the diagonal 

Make soup:
Heat stock / broth until it just comes to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add soy, vinegar and wontons. Cook until won tons are firm, about 5 - 7 minutes (slightly longer if won tons are frozen). 

Garnish and serve:
Remove from heat and season to taste with salt. Ladle broth and wontons into serving bowls and garnish with green onions. Serve immediately. Soup recipe serves 4 to 6. 

Morels a la Creme (© Patrice Benson)

8 oz fresh morels*
1 cup heavy cream
2 oz butter
unsalted salt
pepper to taste 

Optional ingredients as desired:

1 Tbsp. fresh Italian parsley, minced
1 large shallot, finely chopped 
½ cup dry, white wine 
½ tsp. minced garlic 
½ tsp. minced fresh herb, such as thyme, basil, summer savory or chervil 

Heat skillet, add butter and mushrooms. Mushrooms may be whole, sliced lengthwise, or crosswise. Sauté for 5 minutes. Add wine and reduce until almost absorbed by mushrooms. Add cream and herbs and reduce to desired consistency. Reduce less for pasta sauce; more for serving on bread as an hors d'oeuvre. It is also incredibly delicious on grilled chicken, salmon or steak.

* or 1 oz. dried morels, reconstituted in 1 cup of tepid water or warm cream

Pan seared Salmon with Morel cream

2 each portions of salmon filet, 6 to 8 oz. each
2 Tbsp. olive oil or butter
unsalted salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Skin salmon and coat with butter or oil. Season with salt and pepper. Heat Skillet on high heat for 3 to 4 minutes. Place salmon portions presentation side down onto hot skillet. Cook 3 to 4 minutes on first side or until seared and brown. Using spatula, carefully turn filet over and begin to brown other side. Turn off heat. When salmon is done both sides should be lightly seared and brown. Salmon should be pink and slightly translucent in center when flesh is pulled back to see inside. Total cooking time per side should be around 3 minutes depending on thickness of cut. Remove from skillet position on serving plate and knap with sauce. Garnish with cooked potato or vegetable. 

Mushu Morels(© Patrice Benson)

8 oz. fresh clean morels* 
2 tsp. soy sauce 
2 tsp. Chinese wine or sherry 
2 tsp. cornstarch 
4 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked 30 min.
 2 Tbsp. dried wood ear mushrooms, soaked 30 min 
30 dried lily buds, soaked 30 minutes 
2 green onions 
2 eggs 
¼ tsp salt 
2 Tbsp. peanut oil 
1 tsp. sesame oil 
1 Tbsp. soy sauce 
Hoisin sauce, for serving 
8 mandarin pancakes or medium flour tortillas 

Cut morels lengthwise into 4 - 6 strips; mix with soy, sherry and cornstarch. Julienne green onions. Beat eggs. Heat wok or sauté pan. Add 1 Tbsp. peanut oil to pan, add eggs. Stir gently until just set. Remove eggs from pan. Heat 1 Tbsp. peanut oil and add drained mushrooms, lily buds and onions. Stir-fry 2 minutes then add soy and sesame oil. Serve on a warm tortilla, which has a little Hoisin sauce, and perhaps a shred of green onion applied to it. Fold like a burrito or roll. Serve immediately. 

* or 1 oz. dried, reconstituted morels may be used. Reconstitute in tepid water for 30 minutes. 

Mushroom Pâté

Easy to make and so delicious, use as a sandwich spread, filling for dumplings or form in molds, decorate and slice for an elegant presentation.

4 Tbsp. oil or butter
1½ Ib. mushrooms, white or brown, from grocer, thinly sliced
2 bunches green onions, finely chopped
1 ounce dried mushrooms (porcini, boletus, morels, etc.)
½ cup hot water, for rehydrating dried mushrooms 
1 pound chicken livers (substitution: ½ Ib. tofu) 
½ cup Sherry, Madeira, Marsala or Brandy 
½ tsp. hot sauce, Louisiana style 
½ tsp. granulated garlic 
¼ tsp. white pepper, ground 
¼ tsp. nutmeg, ground 
1/8 tsp. cloves or allspice, ground 
½ cup heavy cream (optional)

Measure and prep ingredients. Place butter in sauté pan over medium-high heat, when hot, sauté mushrooms until beginning to soften. Add green onions and sauté one more minute. Make window in center of pan and pour in livers. Pour wine around outside edge of pan. Let cook a few minutes then turn livers to cook other side. Livers are done when firm but still pink in center. Remove livers from pan and reserve. Add remaining ingredients to liquid in pan and simmer until reduced to less than ¼ cup. Remove from heat and transfer all to work bowl of food processor along with reserved livers. Using steel blade, process until mixture is completely smooth. Be patient. When smooth transfer to molds or ramekins and cool in refrigerator. When cool decorate with sliced mushrooms, green onion cut-outs, crushed peppercorns or pimento flowers. Serve chilled. May be made 2 to 3 days in advance. Makes about 1 pound pâté, enough to serve 6 or more.

Baby Mushroom Fritters

These crisp, tasty morsels are always a hit and make any event festive. All fried foods should be served fresh and hot for ultimate appeal.

2 tsp. Cajun or Blackened seasoning
1 tsp. kosher salt 
½ tsp granulated garlic
½ tsp curry powder 
½ cup flour 
2 cups buttermilk
1 Ib. mushrooms, small button type (agaricus, chanterelle, etc.)
vegetable oil for frying

Measure ingredients and heat oil in deep pan for frying. Mix spices and salt into flour. Stir flour into buttermilk until evenly combined. Dip mushrooms into thickened, seasoned buttermilk to coat. Immediately place in deep fryer and cook until golden brown and crisp. Check inside of first few pieces to ensure doneness. Serve fresh and hot. May be served with creamy or spicy dipping sauce for added effect. Serves 4 to 6 as appetizer. 

Spicy Dipping Sauce: 

1 cup orange marmalade
1 cup Bold 'n Spicy mustard
1 cup prepared horseradish

 Stir together until evenly combined. 

Wild Mushroom Ragout

This stew makes an excellent entree when served over polenta, also delicious served along side roast pork or any number of vegetable soufflés; great accompanied by thick slices of crusty bread.

½ cup hot water, for soaking dried mushrooms
½ oz. dried mushrooms (boletus, morels, or shiitake)
3 Tbsp. butter 
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 
1 cup coarsely chopped onions 
2 pounds fresh mushrooms, preferably local wild mushrooms, quarter or slice 
2 Tbsp. minced garlic 
1 tsp. dried thyme, crushed 
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary 
¼ cup dry sherry 
1 cup heavy cream 
2 Tbsp. brandy 
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice 
½ - 1 tsp. salt 
1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg 

Place dried mushrooms in small bowl, cover with hot water and let soak for 15 - 20 minutes to soften. When soft, finely chop mushrooms and reserve soaking liquid. In large, heavy pot, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat and saute onions until browned. Add mushrooms and garlic and sauté until tender, about 3 - 4 minutes. Add, soaked, dried mushrooms, soaking liquid, herbs, sherry and cream. Cook about 8 minutes or until reduced and lightly thickened. Add brandy and lemon juice and cook another 2 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Serves 6 

Spiced Chanterelles Roulade

This is a delicious icebox cream cake that was first served as dessert on the final day of the North American Mushroom Association conference held in Port Townsend in 1993. They raved about it and so will your guests.


6 each eggs, separated 
½ cup sugar 
½ cup chanterelle puree 
1 tsp. spice blend 
1/3 cup all-purpose flour 
½ tsp. baking powder 
¼ tsp. salt 


1½ cups heavy cream 
1/3 cup powdered sugar 
½ cup chanterelle puree or equal amount sautéed, tiny chanterelles
½ tsp. spice blend
1 tsp. vanilla 
1 cup chopped, toasted pecans (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 10½ x 15½ inch jelly-roll pan with parchment paper and grease paper on both sides. Beat the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and thick. Blend in chanterelle puree, spice blend, flour and baking powder. Beat egg whites with salt until forming moist and shiny firm peaks. Carefully fold whites into yolk mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake 15 minutes, until cake bounces back when touched in the center. Turn out onto paper that has been sprinkled with powdered sugar. Immediately peel off top paper, carefully roll up cake lengthwise and let cool. Meanwhile, prepare filling. Whip the cream and powdered sugar until stiff. Blend together chanterelle puree, spice blend and vanilla. Carefully fold together with whipped cream. Unroll cooled cake, spread with filling and carefully roll up. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill 2 to 4 hours. When ready to serve sprinkle with powdered sugar or ice with additional whipped cream. Serves 8 to 10. 

Spice blend:

½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. allspice 

Chanterelle puree:

2 Tbsp. butter or oil 
1½ cups chopped chanterelles 

Heat butter in skillet and sauté mushrooms until soft. If any liquid forms continue cooking until evaporated. Transfer cooked mushrooms to food processor and process until smooth. Yield: 1 cup chanterelle puree. 

Wild Mushroom Risotto


1½ cups hot water
2 oz. dried Boletus Edulis or dried Shiitake mushroom
4+ cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade, more as needed


2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ Ib. mixed fresh Agaricus or plain, white or brown button mushroom, chanterelles, morels or blue foot or Matsutakes or oyster or shiitake mushrooms 
1 medium shallot, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
¼ cup Madeira or Marsala or sherry 
2 Tbsp butter 
1 cup onion, finely diced 
1½ cups Carnaroli or Arborio rice. 
½ cup dry white wine 
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram 
2 Tbsp. fresh basil, shredded 
½ cup chopped Italian parsley 
¾ cup grated Reggiano parmesan cheese 
fresh cracked black pepper 


Pour the hot water over the dried mushrooms. Let them soak for 15 minutes, then lift them out of the water and chop them. Pour the soaking liquid through a fine strainer; leaving any dirt that sank to the bottom behind. Add the mushroom liquid to the stock and bring it to a simmer in a saucepan. Set aside. 


Heat the oil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and ½ tsp. salt and cook, stirring, for several minutes. Lower the heat to medium and add the shallots, garlic, Madeira, and reconstituted mushrooms. Cook until all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from the heat and set aside. 


Melt the butter in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook, stirring often until softened, about 6 minutes. Add the rice and stir and cook for 1 minute. Add 2 cups of hot stock, the wine, and 1 tsp. salt. Reduce the heat to low and stir the rice with a large wooden spoon until most of the liquid is absorbed. You don't have to stir it constantly through the cooking process, as is sometimes specified in risotto recipes, just very often - about ½ the time. You can't walk away, but you can chop herbs or grate cheese in between stirs. When the first cup of stock is absorbed, add another cup of stock and keep stirring. Add 1 cup of stock at a time, waiting until the rice is almost dry before adding more. After 3 cups of stock are added, stir in the cooked mushrooms. Continue adding stock and cooking until the mixture is creamy and the rice is tender on the outside but still has a the faintest hint of a bite when you! chew it. It will take about 25 - 35 minutes from the time you first add liquid, depending on the type of rice and the level of heat. When the rice is done stir in the herbs and cheese. Add a little more stock if necessary to keep the risotto moist. Two more tablespoons of butter can be stirred in for a richer dish. Season with black pepper and additional salt if necessary. Spoon the risotto into heated bowls and serve. Serves four as a main course or six as a first course. 

Chanterelle & Corn Chowder with Basil

2 Tbsp. olive oil 
1 medium onion, finely chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced 
3 cups chopped chanterelle mushrooms, about 12 oz. 
¾ tsp. salt 
½ cup white wine 
2 Tbsp. dry sherry 
3 cups unsalted chicken or vegetable stock, preferably homemade 
2 cups fresh sweet corn kernels, about 3 ears 
1 cup heavy cream 
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh marjoram 
½ cup coarsely chopped basil leaves 
black pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until it softens and begins to turn a light caramel color, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and the salt and cook for 5 minutes or until all the moisture is released and then evaporates. Pour in the wine and sherry and continue to cook until almost dry. Add the stock and corn and bring the soup to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes. Stir in the cream and wait until the soup simmers once again. Add the marjoram, basil, pepper, and additional salt, if needed. Serves 6