This season’s dish: stuffed dolma

This season’s dish: dolma stuffed with `kuzu göbeÄ=9Fi’ mushrooms

Head chef at Mövenpick Hotel İstanbul Maximilian Thomae is serving
up a series of different dishes featuring mushrooms for his
customers. To gather the mushrooms he uses, he goes to Mengen in the
province of Bolu and buys mushrooms from the local villagers there.

When spring comes, it’s not just flowers that start to bloom;
mushrooms also start popping up everywhere, from mountain sides to
hills, among bushes and in shady corners. The location is not
important for mushrooms; it’s more that the weather must be a bit
rainy and warm. In this sense, our nation is a mushroom paradise in
the spring.

Of course, it’s important not to be fooled into complacency by the
colorful and delicate appearance that mushrooms can sometime take
on. While there are many health benefits that can be obtained through
the consumption of mushrooms, there are also many risks.
It seems that mushroom lovers in Turkey have lots to celebrate this
year as this spring has seen plenty of rain. We are especially seeing
many of the mushroom called `kuzu göbeÄ=9Fi’ in Turkish (also known
as Morchella conica or sometimes as Morchella deliciosa) all over the
place in Turkey. In fact, more avid mushroom lovers in Turkey are even
holding mushroom festivals. One such mushroom appreciator is the head
chef at Mövenpick Hotel Istanbul, the German Maximilian Thomae. A
famous chef in his own right, Thomae is serving up a series of
different dishes featuring mushrooms for his customers these days. The
recipes and sauces he uses20are all his own. To gather the mushrooms
he uses, he goes to Mengen in the province of Bolu and buys mushrooms
from the local villagers there. He then starts to cook, making soup
with "cincile" (Lepista nuda) mushrooms and lamb filet and dolmas
stuffed with the abovementioned `kuzu göbeÄ=9Fi’ mushroom. But Thomae
does complain that most Turks do not really perceive mushrooms as
being linked with the variety of delicious dishes that can be cooked,
which is perhaps why he tries to use the mushrooms he buys as often as
possible. And it is true, Turks don’t tend to count mushrooms on their
own as meals. If and when we Turks cook mushrooms, they are either
part of a stew, or maybe covered in cheese. To be fair though,
Europeans also tend to use their mushrooms mostly in sauces or as
garnishes. But Thomae is resolute in his quest to have20us appreciate
dishes featuring mushrooms, which is why he has prepared two special
recipes based on them.
Before sharing Thomae’s recipes with you, I would like to draw
attention to another important point, which is that, as a people,
Turks really have not been very successful in venturing out to collect
mushrooms from the wild. Incidents of poisonings and deaths from
mushrooms are proof of this. Unfortunately, there is no exact method
of distinguishing poisonous from non-poisonous mushrooms. In fact,
there are clearly many misperceptions on this front circulating in
Turkey, and it is these misperceptions that lead to mushroom-poisoning
deaths. It is sometimes said in Turkey that one way to test if
mushrooms are poisonous is by throwing a silver ring or silver spoon
among them while they are cooking and if the silver blackens it means
the mushrooms are poisonous. Other stories are that if bugs eat a
mushroom, it can’t be poisonous or that if you rinse a poisonous
mushroom with salt and vinegar you get rid of the poisonous
effects. These are all wrong, of course.
Mushroom expert Jilber Barutciyan explains some of the points that
need to be paid attention to when picking mushrooms. Barutciyan notes
that even experienced mushroom experts can’t always tell whether or
not a mushroom is poisonous. Even mushrooms that you find being sold
in outdoor markets may be poisonous, despite having passed through
inspections by experts. Barutciyan tries to spread knowledge about
this topic as much as he can and even answers people’s questions free
of charge on the Web site
Is every mushroom edible?
Some capped mushrooms can be eaten, but others are poisonous. Both
poisonous and non-poisonous mushrooms can grow in the same place. It
takes an expert to distinguish between the two kinds, and as mentioned
before, sometimes even experts aren’t able to do this. Also, when even
one poisonous mushroom is mixed in with harmless mushrooms, it is
enough to lead to poisoning. It is safer to purchase mushrooms
packaged by well-known, expert firms than to buy mushrooms sold at an
outdoor market. It is also quite impo rtant to eat mushrooms while
they are still fresh and not to keep them in the refrigerator for too
long, which can also lead to illness when they are consumed.

`Kuzu göbeÄ=9Fi’ (morchella) mushroom dolma

Ingredients: 8 large morchella mushrooms

For the rice filling: 100 grams of rice, 30 grams of dried onion, 1
clove of garlic, 20 grams of pine nuts, 20 grams of currants, 2 grams
of cinnamon, 10 grams of salt, 2 grams of black pepper, 500
milliliters of hot chicken broth, 10 grams of parmesan cheese, 30
grams of butter, 30 milliliters of olive oil

Preparation: Pour the olive oil into a pan, and sauté the onion and
garlic. Add the pine nuts and currants and then the rice and stir for
a while. After adding the cinnamon, salt and black pepper stir some
more, slowly adding the hot chicken broth. Add the butter and parmesan
when the rice looks like it is nearly
cooked.Steam the mushrooms for approximately one minute to soften them
a bit and keep them from breaking. Stuff the insides with the rice
filling. After stuffing the mushrooms, put the mushrooms in a sieve
and place them over a deep pot full of boiling water so the mushrooms
can be cooked by the steam. Be careful not to let the mushrooms touch
the water.

01 June 2009, Monday

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