After my fairly unsuccessful attempt at Jamie Oliver’s 15 minute mushroom soup, I still had some mushrooms, parsley and thyme left over in my fridge. And a desire to make something that I actually wanted to eat once it was cooked. I also had some leftover bacon as well that needed to be used up. Not wanting to waste these ingredients I set about finding something I could cook with them.
I didn’t have to look far. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s latest TV cooking series from River Cottage (and associated cookbook of course) is called 3 Good Things. It is based on the premise that all you need for a great dish is three great ingredients that work well together. Each episode has Hugh competing with two other chefs to cook the best dish created out of the ingredient of the day, with each chef being able to pick the two other ingredients to go with it to make 3 Good Things. Basic seasonings, herbs etc are allowed in addition to the three main ingredients
Episode 4 was based around the theme of mushrooms and Gill Meller matched the mushrooms with pastry and pancetta to make a simple mushroom tart, with thyme and parsley used as well. I always have some puff pastry in the freezer, and pancetta can be easily replaced with bacon. Perfect, a recipe for lunch to use up my leftover ingredients was found and after picking up a few more mushrooms (I bought a tray of different gourmet mushrooms to go with the swiss brown/button mushrooms I already had) I was ready to cook.
The recipe, although taking longer to cook than the 15 minute meal mushroom soup, needed a lot less of my time and energy to make. A few minutes chopping and frying and then it was all in the oven. Easy. Which was just as well as I was starting to get a migraine. The end result tasted great (although I couldn’t eat it until later in the day once my migraine was gone), and I felt redeemed after the mushroom soup disaster. I didn’t feel like eating much that night after my migraine, so it was a perfect light dinner, while Jerome had it earlier in the day as his lunch.
- 75g bacon or pancetta – chopped
- 250g mixed mushrooms – cleaned and chopped
- Leaves of 2 sprigs of thyme
- 1 sheet puff pastry
- 1 tablespoon of roughly chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olive oil (depending on how much fat is in the bacon)
- Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced).
- Heat a pan over a medium heat. Add bacon/pancetta and fry until crisp. Remove the bacon, retaining any fat in the pan. Drain on a paper towel to remove any excess fat. My bacon was very lean so there wasn’t much fat, so at this stage I added a tablespoon of olive oil to the pan to cook the mushrooms in.
- Cook the mushrooms until coloured and tender. Add thyme leaves and some pepper then remove from the heat and combine with the bacon. Taste to check seasoning and add salt if needed (this will depend on how salty your bacon/pancetta is). Set aside to cool.
- Place pastry on a baking tray and score a rim (2cm wide) around the edge of the pastry. Place the cooled mushroom mixture inside the rim and spread evenly. You want to keep the 2cm border clean of the mix so that it puffs up when baked.
- Sprinkle over the parsley and then cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes until pastry is golden and cooked through. Note – the original recipe said 15 minutes, but I found mine took closer to 25-30 minutes to cook the pastry through.
- Serve as is or with a salad on the side.