From Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen, Deborah Madison, Broadway Books, 2005.
The broth for this was the first item that had to be got going. Dried porcini was soaked in three cups of water. While it was soaking the vegetables were chopped (onion, carrot, garlic and button mushrooms) and sautéd. Tomato paste, marjoram and white wine were then added and flour sprinkled on. This was stirred until it thickened a little. At this stage the porcini and water were added with seasonings. It was then left to simmer.
While this was simmering the mushrooms were prepared. A mix of a variety of mushrooms was chopped to comfortable pieces and fried in olive oil. Though butter was not mentioned in the recipe, I added some as I feel it really adds to the flavour or mushrooms. Once they began to colour I added seasonings, some chopped spring onions and garlic. At this stage I added a can of drained cannellini beans and turned off the heat.
The stock was ready now so it was strained and added to the mushrooms. I chopped the porcini into small pieces and added them as I felt they could still serve a purpose in the mushroom mix.
I was not following the recipe sequence. I found it easier to cook the polenta at this stage, which I then proceeded to do.
It was then time to prepare the asparagus. So I turned on the mushrooms again to let them simmer until the mushrooms were tender. While this was happening I added the asparagus to boiling salted water until it was ready to serve.
To serve, a spoonful of butter was added to the mushrooms (yes, more) and some more chopped spring onions. A serving of polenta was spooned into the plates, the asparagus placed around it, and the mushrooms in their broth served over it.
This turned out to be a comfortable, satisfying meal. It took a reasonable amount of work to prepare but the result made it worth it. I have found that recipes made from this book have proved to be successful, even when I haven’t followed the instructions exactly.
Ease of cooking: ✔✔✔✔