Mushroom stroganoff

    This dish is made with both dried and fresh mushrooms. The dried mushrooms can be the wild black or dark brown ones that are imported from Italy or Eastern Europe, but I’ve also had success using the Japanese forest mushrooms—a wonderful, pungent flavor.

    Serves 6

    • 2 oz. dried dark mushrooms
    • 1 qt. hot water
    • 1 lb. fresh, firm mushrooms
    • ½ medium-sized onion, minced
    • 4 Tbs. butter
    • pinch of thyme
    • salt
    • fresh-ground black pepper
    • 1 generous cup sour cream
    • 2 Tbs. brandy
    • 2 Tbs. dry sherry
    • 1 lb. wide egg noodles
    • 3 to 4 Tbs. butter, melted
    • 2 to 3 tsp. poppy seeds

    1. Soak the dried mushrooms in a quart of hot water for several hours. Drain them, reserving the liquid. Wash the mushrooms thoroughly under running water, one by one, and trim off the hard stems. Cut the mushrooms in wide strips. Strain the liquid through several layers of cheesecloth or through a paper coffee filter; there should be about 2 cups of it now. Transfer the liquid to a saucepan and simmer it until it is reduced by slightly more than half.
    2. Meanwhile, wash, trim, and thickly slice the fresh mushrooms. Sauté the minced onions in the butter until they are transparent, then add the sliced fresh mushrooms and toss over high heat until they have released their excess water and it is starting to evaporate. Season with a pinch of thyme and salt and pepper to taste. Add the soaked mushroom strips and reduce the heat to medium-low.
    3. Gradually whisk the reduced mushroom liquid into the sour cream, and add this mixture to the mushrooms. Simmer gently, stirring often, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the sour cream sauce is slightly thickened and the mushrooms are tender. Stir in the brandy and sherry, taste, and correct the seasoning if necessary.
    4. Boil the noodles in a large amount of vigorously boiling salted water until they are just tender but not yet soft. Drain them immediately and toss them with the melted butter and poppy seeds in a heated bowl.
    5. Serve with the poppy seed noodles, and follow it with a tart, crisp salad.