Chop the pieces 2 to 3 inches long, as necessary; I like to leave wild mushrooms as whole or as large as practical, especially the really beautiful ones like morels and chanterelles.
Sauté the mushrooms in batches, each type individually. Heat 1 tablespoon of butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. As soon as it stops foaming, add the first batch of mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. If you add the mushrooms before the butter stops foaming, the pan won't be hot enough to sear. Don't crowd the pan -- if you cook too may mushrooms at once, they tend to steam instead of sear. Sauté the mushrooms until they are tender and their juices have evaporated, and transfer to a plate. Add another tablespoon of butter to the pan and, as soon as it stops foaming, add the next batch of mushrooms. Continue until you have cooked all the mushrooms, adding a tablespoon of butter to the pan before each new batch.
While the mushrooms are cooking, bring the chicken stock to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat and simmer until it reduces to one cup, about 15 minutes.
After removing the final batch of mushrooms from the pan, lower the heat to medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to the pan, along with the shallots and garlic (do not wait for the butter to foam), and cook until the shallots are tender, about 3 minutes. Return all the mushrooms to the pan, add the Marsala and thyme, and cook until the Marsala is reduced by half.
Add the chicken stock to the mushrooms, simmer and reduce to make a slightly soupy sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Serve immediately.
|... an excerpt of:
"In the Hands of a Chef" (William Morrow)
click on the cover to see it at Amazon.com