BY NENI PANOURGIA, NEW YORK | YIELD: 4 SERVINGS
As an anthropologist, I travel a lot both for fieldwork and conferences, and everywhere I go, I keep my antennae up for new recipes. I had this dish while I was visiting Lake Prespa, at the shared border of Greece, Albania, and North Macedonia. It was served in the village of Psarades, which sits right on the lake. The lake teems with life—from fish , turtles, and birds to water chestnuts, which can be harvested easily by just wading in the shallows. When I asked for the recipe, I was told that there wasn’t one: you just put everything together in the oven. After I returned in New York , I tried to replicate the dish. This version is just like the one I had in Greece. It’s best to make this dish in an earthenware pan. Otherwise, use a baking pan about 9 by 12 inches that will hold the mushrooms snugly.
2 pounds fresh mixed cultivated and/or wild mushrooms, cleaned and chopped into quarter-sized chunks
½ cup chopped juicy tomatoes (about 1medium tomato)
¼ to ½ cup white wine
Pinch of dried oregano
2 small red or green bell peppers, or a combination, chopped in chunks (about 8 ounces)
1 tablespoon sweet bucovo or 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 teaspoons hot bucovo or ½ teaspoon hot paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup thinly sliced shallots
2 tablespoons sliced garlic
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leafed parsley
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a large pan, combine the mushrooms, tomatoes, white wine, oregano, bell peppers, sweet bucovo, hot bucovo, salt, pepper, olive oil, shallots, and garlic. Make sure that there is enough liquid to cover the bottom of the pan. If there is not, add a few tablespoons of water. Cover the pan with aluminum foil, leaving a couple of openings on either side for steam to escape. Bake for about 20 minutes, then give the mixture a good mix. Continue cooking, checking the mushrooms periodically for doneness (they are ready when they are fork-tender) another 25 minutes or so. Do not overcook; you are looking for tender mushrooms in a little sauce.
Remove from the oven, mix in the parsley, and cool. Serve at room temperature with sliced feta cheese and bread, if you like.
Reprinted from The Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook by Eugenia Bone with permission from Insight Editions, 2021. Photographs © Evan Sung.
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