Mushroom Recipes from Chef Jack Czarecki

Mushroom recipes from Jack Czarecki, arguably the world's best mushroom chef, including scrambled eggs with mushrooms and onions, wild rice with chanterelles and apricots, and Joe's wild mushroom soup.

| March/April 1987

  • Jack Czarnecki chef mushroom recipes
    Jack Czarnecki just may be the world's best mushroom chef. Forage up some ceps, and try his recipe for chicken with mushrooms and pine nuts, and we think you'll agree.

  • Jack Czarnecki chef mushroom recipes

Excerpted from Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery, by Jack Czarnecki. Used with permission of Antheneum publishers. 

The flavors of wild mushrooms speak poetry in gourmet dishes in the world's best restaurants. You can match this mastery in your own kitchen with Joe's fantastic mushroom recipes. 

Chef Created Mushroom Recipes

To mushroom fanciers, Joe's Restaurant, in Reading, Pennsylvania, is as alluring and replete with gastronomic promise as a morel nestled on the forest floor. Joe's is the country's premier specialist in wild-mushroom dining; for decades, customers and food critics have hailed it as one of the finest and most innovative restaurants in the nation. Here you'll encounter such delicacies as Morels Marie (morels stuffed with pheasant mousse), Snails Suillus pictus with a mustard and caper sauce, Crusted Beef in Black Trumpet Sauce, and the more basic but legendary Joe's Wild Mushroom Soup. Here, too, you'll find Jack Czarnecki, third generation chef and proprietor of Joe's, author of Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery, and one of the country's foremost experts on finding, preparing, preserving, and serving fungi.

Jack's knowledge of mushrooms is a legacy from his grandparents, who learned to gather mushrooms in Poland and later taught their son (Jack's father) how to do the same in the Blue Mountains near Reading. Now Jack and his entire family-his mother and father, his wife, Heidi, and his three children-hunt mushrooms every day during the season for his mushroom recipes, sometimes bringing back as many as 20 or 30 different kinds for the restaurant's larder.

But Jack is quick to point out that, although identifying and picking edible wild mushrooms is best left to those with experience, wild-mushroom cookery can be explored by anyone. Fresh wild mushrooms are now available (in season) at markets in many areas...and some "wild" species such as shiitake, oyster mushrooms, and enoki, are cultivated on mushroom "farms." Wild mushrooms are also available canned or dried. (Dried mushrooms are preferable to canned for culinary purposes, says Jack, and for some species-such as the cep-they're superior even to fresh specimens in some recipes.) And don't judge the commercial button mushroom, Agaricus brunnescens, too harshly, he says; it is, after all, what most of us think of when we think mushroom, and is perfectly acceptable for many dishes.

In Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery ($20.95, Atheneum), Jack explains how to choose, prepare, can, and dry mushrooms, as well as how to make everything from basic stocks and extracts to entrees that marry mushrooms with poultry, fish, pasta, and eggs. Here is just a sampling of the many fine recipes to be savored from Joe's Book of Mushroom Cookery. 

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