Dalmatian mushrooms

Dalmatian mushrooms

Gljive na bracki nacin

By
From
Dalmatia
Serves
6-8

When olives are harvested in Dalmatia, usually in November, under the trees we always find lots of large mushrooms that we call pecurve. This recipe is a very traditional way of cooking these mushrooms and it makes a great lunch for cool autumn days. You can also use other kinds of mushrooms for this recipe. It is delicious served with pilaf rice. In the old days before refined white sugar, varenik, or grape molasses, was used as a sweetener in Croatia. It is simple to prepare as it only has one ingredient. The flavour is truly unique with hints of caramel, fresh fruit, flowers and coffee. When I make a batch it lasts me a long time, and I add it to salads, sauces, stews and sometimes soups.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
2kg mushrooms, field or slippery jack
5 garlic cloves, crushed
250ml extra virgin olive oil
1kg brown onion, thinly sliced
100ml red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
100ml prošek (dalmatian fortified wine)
or port
100ml varenik
2 tab tomato paste
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, to garnish

Method

  1. For the varenik, pick the grapes from the stems. Put the grapes through a fruit juicer then strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve. Put the juice in a large saucepan over high heat and cook until it reduces to one tenth of its original volume, or until the juice becomes a syrup and starts to foam. You should have about 500 ml of varenik. Allow to cool.
  2. Clean the dust and soil from the mushrooms with a brush, then cut them into 1 cm thick slices.
  3. In a heavy-based pan, sauté the garlic in the olive oil over high heat for a few seconds, then add the onion. Season with salt and pepper, cover and sauté over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent and you have a thick paste.
  4. Add the sliced mushrooms, cover and sauté for a further 30 minutes until the mixture thickens.
  5. In a bowl, mix the red wine vinegar with the sugar and 100 ml water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Add this syrup to the pan, along with the prošek, varenik and tomato paste. Slowly braise, stirring occasionally, for about 2 hours or until the stew thickens. Garnish with the parsley, then serve.
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