On each of my most recent visits to the farmers’ market I’ve come home with a brown paper bag filled with fresh and gritty wild mushrooms. My husband and I have enjoyed them quite simply, with butter and garlic on toast, and added them to risottos and stews. However, as the evenings grow darker and chillier, I also like to roll out one of my very favourite German recipes for a plate of food that has a perfectly autumnal and somewhat celebratory feel to it: wild mushrooms with pork fillet and onions in a luxurious cream sauce.
It’s a straightforward enough recipe, but it’s one that’s taken me a few attempts to get just right. Traditional German variations of the dish often use herbs such as marjoram or thyme or involve spring onions, paprika or even tomato purée, all of which I think overcomplicate a dish that should be all about the main ingredients – the pork and the seasonal mushrooms. These traditional recipes also usually add meat or vegetable stock, which I find makes the sauce far too runny. Having fiddled around with various ingredients over time, the recipe I’m sharing here is the version that I like best of all – and the one that finally got the seal of approval from my German husband.
You can use any mushrooms you fancy for this recipe but I love the flavour and texture of chanterelles (Pfifferlinge); and they do turn the dish into something a little bit special. Just be sure you spend a bit of time carefully brushing all the dirt off them – no one likes a mouthful of grit for dinner!
Schweinemedaillons mit Pfifferlingerahmsoße
Ingredients (serves 2)
300g pork loin (Schweinelende), sliced into 3cm thick medallions
1 medium-sized onion, finely chopped
200g chanterelle (or other wild) mushrooms, dirt removed and the larger ones sliced in two
1 small glass of dry white wine
150ml single cream (Schlagsahne)
A small bunch of parsley, leaves picked and roughly chopped
Melt the butter on a medium-high heat in a wide, non-stick pan with a small drizzle of olive oil (to stop the butter burning). Season the meat well and sear it in the butter and oil on both sides for 3-4 minutes before removing it from the pan and setting it to one side.
Lower the heat a little, add the chopped onion and cook slowly, stirring from time to time, until the onion is soft, translucent and beginning to turn golden at the edges. Turn the heat up again, add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes until they are well coated in the oniony butter.
Add a generous splash of wine to the pan and allow it to bubble and reduce till it’s almost disappeared. Pour in the cream and cook on a medium heat until the sauce thickens, then stir in the parsley – reserving a little to garnish the final dish – return the pork to the pan and cook for another 4 minutes, until the pork is just cooked through. Taste the sauce and season with more salt and/or pepper if necessary, and serve immediately.
This dish is traditionally served alongside Spätzle or ribbon noodles such as tagliatelle or pappardelle, however since I haven’t yet perfected a gluten-free version of either, we dished it up with brown rice and green beans – and absolutely delicious it was too.