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THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

29 March 2017
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Ready for a mushroom hunt?


Mushroom ‘outlet’ at a Varena roadside.

Mushroom picking is undoubtedly one of the favourite activities of the Lithuanian people. It starts in the spring and lasts till the first frosts, normally early November. Mushroom hunting is probably Lithuania’s second most popular sport, after basketball. When rumours start to float around that the first mushrooms of the year have been seen in the woods, people get up at 6 am on Saturday morning and go to the woods with their baskets and plastic bags. You can actually experience traffic jams at that time on a Saturday morning! Entire families go mushrooming and return with overflowing baskets.

The most abundant forests are in Dzukija, the south eastern region. Traditionally the inhabitants of this part of the country are the most prolific mushroom gatherers and this region's cooks are known for the most creative mushroom recipes.  The mushroom capital of Lithuania is the town Varena, founded in 1862 as centre of the Varena District. Due to lower harvests in infertile soil, local farmers had to supplement their yields with edible mushrooms and berries collected in the forests. Still today mushroom collecting remains an important part of the local economy.

All over Lithuania mushrooms are used in many dishes, to add special flavor to meat, fish and potato dishes. Mushrooms are used fresh, dried, salted or marinated. More than four hundred edible varieties are found in the Lithuanian forests. The most popular are boletes. Also collected are chanterelles, blevits, morels and many others.

Mushroom recipes from the book LITHIANIAN TRADIONAL FOOD
Compiled by Birutë Imbrasienė 
Edited and translated by Giedrė Ambrozaitienė

FRIED MUSHROOM CAPS
Keptos grybų kepurėlės


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh boletus or button mushroom caps
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter
2 tablespoons flour
salt and pepper to taste

Wash mushroom caps, blot dry and roll in flour, seasoned with salt and pepper. Fry floured mushroom caps in butter on low heat until nicely browned, about 20 minutes.
Serve with hot potatoes or bread for lunch or as a late afternoon snack.


FRIED MUSHROOMS WITH ONIONS
Kepti grybai su svogūnais


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh boletus or white or brown, mushroom caps
200 g (3/4 cup) vegetable oil
3 onions, diced
several bay leaves
pinch of salt and pepper

Drop dry mushroom caps into hot oil and fry on low heat, about 20 minutes. Add onions, seasonings and fry for 5 more minutes. 
Serve warm fried mushroom caps with hot potatoes and cold caps with toasted black bread.


MUSHROOMS SIMMERED IN SOUR CREAM OR MILK
Grybai troškinti grietinėje ar piene


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh mushrooms
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter
2 onions, finely chopped
4 tablespoons sour cream or 1 cup milk
salt and pepper to taste

Brush mushrooms clean. Slice and cook in a frying pan, in their own juices. Cook until all liquid evaporates. Add butter and onion to mushrooms, bake for 15 minutes. Pour sour cream or milk and simmer for 5 minutes. 
Serve for lunch with hot potatoes or bread.


MUSHROOMS IN A BLANKET
Kepti grybai tešloje

1/2 k (1 lb) fresh mushrooms
100 g (3 oz) butter or vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons bread crumbs
pinch of salt

Brush mushrooms clean, cut in halves and dust with salted flour. Dip mushroom halves into egg and roll in bread crumbs. Fry breaded mushrooms in hot oil or butter. Place fried mushrooms on a baking sheet and bake in preheated oven at 250F/120C, for about 10 minutes. 
Serve with bread or hot potatoes for breakfast, lunch or as a late afternoon snack.


CHANTERELLES WITH BACON
Voveruškos su lašiniukais


1/2 k (1 lb) fresh chanterelles
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely cut
2 onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Wash chanterelles and drop into salted, boiling water. Cook about 15 minutes. Fry bacon and onion, add cooked chanterelles and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover frying pan and continue baking for 10 minutes, stirring several times. 
Serve for lunch with hot potatoes.


BRAISED MUSHROOMS WITH POTATOES
Troškinti grybai su bulvėmis


10 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 k (2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
100 g (3 oz) bacon, finely cut
2 onions, chopped
1 cup sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Cook potatoes until soft, drain and save potato cooking water. Fry bacon and onion. Cook mushrooms in salted water for about 20 minutes. Drain and cut mushrooms into halves. Add mushrooms to fried bacon and onion mixture. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, add 1/4 cup potato water and simmer for 5 minutes. Pour simmered mushrooms over boiled potatoes, mix well. Pour sour cream on top just before serving for lunch.


FRIED DRIED MUSHROOMS
Kepti džiovinti grybai

100 g (3 oz) dried mushrooms
3 tablespoons flour
150 g (6 oz) butter or vegetable oil
1 cup milk 
salt to taste

Soak dried mushrooms in milk for 3 hours. Blot dry and roll in salted flour. Fry in hot fat, on both sides, about 25-30 minutes. 
Serve hot, covered with pan juices.


MUSHROOM PATTIES
Grybų maltinukai


1 k (2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
3 eggs
2 onions, chopped
2 tablespoons sour cream
200 g (3/4 cup) butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup bread crumbs
salt and pepper to taste

Cook mushrooms, drain and chop finely. Fry onion in 2 tablespoons butter. Add beaten eggs to sour cream, mix well. Add fried onion, salt, pepper, mushrooms and bread crumbs. Blend well and let set for 1/2 hour. Then form medium patties, roll patties in flour and fry in hot butter, both sides, for about 25-30 minutes. 
Serve hot for lunch with hot potatoes and dill pickles.


MUSHROOM EARS
Ausytės su grybų įdaru

3 cups flour
3 eggs
water
2 cups cooked mushrooms, finely chopped
1 onion, chopped and fried
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

Make dough with first 3 ingredients. Roll out dough thinly and cut into squares. To make filling, add 1 beaten egg, fried onion, pinch of salt and pepper to mushrooms. Blend well. Place a spoonful of mushroom mixture, fold over into a triangle, seal edges and join corners together. Cook mushroom ears in salted water 5-7 minutes. Drain and place mushroom ears into a bowl and cover with butter cooked with sour cream. 
Serve hot.


MUSHROOM STUFFED EGGS
Grybai kiaušiniuose


8 eggs
5 mushroom caps
1 cup cooked, chopped mushrooms
1 cup sour cream
100 g (6 tablespoons) butter
onion greens or scallions fresh dill
salt and pepper to taste

Hard boil 7 eggs. Peel 5 eggs and cut off tops, scoop out yolks. Fry mushroom caps in butter. Add 2 finely chopped, hard boiled eggs, 5 scooped out yolks and 1 beaten egg to chopped mushrooms. Mix well and fry mixture in butter for 10 minutes. Fill 5 eggs with mushroom mixture, cap filled eggs with fried mushroom caps. Stand eggs in a serving platter, cover with sour cream, seasoned with salt and pepper and sprinkle with chopped scallions and dill. 
This is eaten as a snack or light lunch with toasted white or black bread.


MUSHROOM CAKE
Grybų tortas


1 k (2 lbs) fresh mushrooms
3 raw eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons bread crumbs
1 cup sour cream
2 onions, chopped, fried
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
2 tablespoons flour
50 g (4 tablespoons) vegetable oil
salt and pepper to taste

Cook mushrooms, drain and blot dry, cut into small pieces. Add onion, hard boiled eggs, bread crumbs, beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Blend all ingredients well. Grease a spring form cake pan and fill with mushroom mixture, sprinkle top with flour and bake in preheated oven at 350F/180C, for about 30 minutes. 
This is eaten hot and cold.
Category : Food, wine and more



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