1. Ha ha – I love girls who smell of garlic and contrary to your mum’s prediction you did find a man.
    It’s a shame you didn’t get to meet the cook downstairs, but she left you some great recipes and in particular this one 😉

    • LOL. Thanks, Mad Dog. You crack me up. It’s true, but don’t think that spinsterhood due to garlic (yes, single meant spinster-kind of a cool profession if you ask me) wasn’t lingering in the back of my mind.

      As for my neighbor, I’d passed her in the hallways a few times and always thought she was a cool chick. She never complained when I’d drop things in the kitchen at midnight. I think she lived alone, seemed fiercely independent (kinda like me), mid-40s, awesome red hair. And pies! She definitely left me with some good stuff to work with. I love hearing from you. I hope you’re doing well.

    • Thanks! I actually rarely use shallots and opt for onions, but if you jeep the heat low, use oil and patience they will reward you. Thanks again for reading.

    • It’s true, Maria. I love how you’re encouraging my investment in this woman! Ha.I will always remember that this recipe has a cool story behind it. I think my biggest regret will be not having tried her pies!

        • I’m convinced that she’s not as cool as my made up version of her. I love that you want me to find her. 🙂 I’ve been a little more hesitant to engage these days in general. Alone time is so hard to come by if you don’t guard it fiercely.

          • Maybe its because I am nosy!! I am so intrigued = how can someone throw those books out? What went on with the farmhouse table that was too big for the flat?? Its the journey that’s fun I think you might be right about the destination.

            • Ha! Books, i think become an issue in nyc apartments, especially during a move. I can see throwing out all but the Bocuse one. They take up space and they’re heavy to move. The giant table probably went with her to a bigger place, though you’d think she’d keep the books. She also had a car, which is rare in nyc especially if your building doesn’t have parking. This woman was some sort of renegade!

  2. Was it a happy discovery, finding out who the mystery cook was, or would you have preferred it to have remained unsolved? That recipe looks so delicious and satisfyingly seasonal! I roasted up three whole heads of garlic the other night to use in a mushroom tart, but I was kicking myself as soon as they’d gone in the oven that I hadn’t brought more to have in the fridge as handy snacks. I’ve already decided that I’m going to do a few as a side dish to have with our Christmas roast – love the stuff!

    • Oh wow, Karinna. What a lovely side! And the mushroom tart sounds so good, especially with all that garlic. Please post it so I can copy you. What a cool question you asked. I like the idea of the mystery remaining unsolved. It leaves more to the imagination. I do wonder if some of the literature was actually from someone else. I like the idea of a mystery person who is very cool and completely flawless and obviously not real. 🙂

      • The tart was so, so good, loosely based on Ottolenghi’s caramelised garlic tart (which I will make in its purity one day.) I too like the idea of the mystery cook 😉

  3. Well, now you know! A pity you never tried your neighbor’s pies, but you still share something through these books and recipes, and now you have your own story to tell. The stew looks fabulous, I can’t believe I’ve never made mushroom stew. I love mushrooms, and I love foraging for them with my mom, who knows all about mushrooms and is an obsessive mushroom picker. She goes to the forest every week during fall; I didn’t use to like going, but nowadays I am so happy when I get a chance! And the roasted garlic… wow, love love love it! Pierre doesn’t, but hasn’t used it as an excuse to leave me… yet! 🙂

    • Darya! I remember you mentioning foraging with your mom in a few recipes. What a cool thing to have that kind of knowledge. I’d love to follow her around one day and watch her. I could see how this wouldn’t thrill a child, but as you learn to appreciate what an amazing skill it is it becomes more exciting. Oh i love that you love garlic like i do. I’ve gotten some comments here and there about my spectacular garlic breath, but not enough to make someone run yet 🙂 The trick is to get whoever you like to eat it with you so they won’t notice. I still want to try your pickled mushrooms. I’m seriously obsessed these days ever since I found that couple at the market selling oyster mushrooms that taste so meaty and fresh. Enjoy the rest of your week. It’s always so nice to hear from you.

      • Oh I bet the pickled mushrooms would be great with oyster mushrooms!
        The most shocking garlic breath I ever “experienced” came from my yoga teacher, at 9 AM. All he eats for breakfast is a spoonful of ground garlic, turmeric, and ginger paste. The mixture is actually delicious… but not the nicest smell that early in the morning 😀 Even for a garlic lover like me! (By the way, Plenty More has a lentil, mushroom, and preserved lemon stew that looks AMAZING).

        • You’re seriously going to get me to get that book. I think I’ll order it tomorrow as a Happy Thanksgiving to me gift. The paste sounds good to add soy sauce too and make a dipping sauce, but in and of itself it sounds a bit harsh for the morning as a stand alone breakfast. All of those ingredients are said to have cleansing properties so I can see why he does it. I do think that would be break up material though for any potential significant other, unless, like I said, they eat it together.

  4. Amanda, I love it when you can use a dutch oven to do the whole meal. I have done that many times as opposed to messing up other pots and pans. This looks yummy, though I don’t know about the garlic. I like it but it doesn’t like me…

  5. Oh I don’t like the idea of mushroom foraging. It’s too much like a Russian roulette. I LOVE to gather wild fruits and nuts and berries, but when it comes to mushrooms I’m just too edgy. My parents are keen but I fear I’ve put them off with all my worrying … You need to find yourself a proper guide. Maybe if you put a bowl of this amazing sauté on your windowsill your elusive mushroom expert will be lured to the apartment and offer his services in return for a bowl or roasty garlicky chicken?
    It looks lovely. Thank goodness your neighbour threw out her Food and Wine magazine. And that you’re back into eating roasted garlic 🙂

    • I love your comments, Trixpin. I think it’s cool that your parents are into mushroom hunting. You really do have a similar experience harvesting wild fruits, nuts and berries, minus the danger, though they do require a certain knowledge too. Eat the wrong berry and you may as well have eaten the wrong mushroom! I LOVE your idea about putting the dish out to lure an expert. Hopefully he looks like Orlando Bloom. I’m sure he’d enjoy garlic breath. As for my former neighbor, I’m loving her book collection. I’ve already enjoyed a great short story from the literary magazines. I’m way too scared to attempt some of the dishes from the old old French cookbooks, but others, like this one are really brilliant. xo

      • Have we discussed Orlando Bloom before? I think we may have … hmmm. If he comes to you following the lure of your sauté you’d better send him my way afterwards OK? 😉

        • We have in my post about rillettes and the fantasies that can actually ruin your life…i.e. if he shows up, do I tell him I’m married? 😉 I’ll definitely send him over to you to avoid chaos!

          • Oh my goodness you HAVE to tell him you’re married. Two reasons:
            1. It might get a little awkward if three months into your relationship he peers round your husband on the sofa and goes ‘But seriously Amanda, who is this guy?’
            2. I’m not married and I definitely need an Orlando in my life.
            So those are both quite selfish reasons but you have a husband and a super amazing blog. Please can I have the Orlando?

            • Ha! You are so funny. Well you have an awesome blog too. You’re an incredible baker and you have wild mushrooms and chestnuts. I’ve also probably got 10 years on you. You’re right that i can only hide job for so long. I think 2 is the best reason. I’ll live vicariously through you! There is no way he’ll resist your flapjacks. Xo

  6. It’s a wonderful feast Amanda and a great story. How could she throw out all those cookbooks? Well, you retrieved the magazine that this this wonderful recipe and thats a very good thing. It sounds delicious and looks incredibly inviting. I love roasting garlic, the aroma is intoxicating and I am a real mushroom lover.

    • Oh if you love these ingredients, this is the dish for you! She definitely should have donated the books! Though a lot of libraries these days don’t take donations. This feast was a little out of control. I made it on a Monday night and we probably didn’t eat until about 10:30p, which isn’t unusual, but it makes tuesday exhausting. I just can’t stop sometimes. I get a dish in my head and dream about it until I execute it. Probably not a healthy thing to do, but I think art has that grip over me, whether it’s cooking or writing. I love that you roast garlic too. So good!

  7. What a great meal! Though I wouldn’t complain if you just served me that head of roasted garlic and some of the bread. Don’t you just love conjuring up stories about neighbors and ex-neighbors and people in restaurants and so forth? She did “donate” the books and magazines … to you!

    • I hear you, Michelle. I might have been just as satisfied with garlic alone. I really do like making stories up about people in restaurants, neighbours, people on the subway. I’m glad I’m not the only one! Hope you’re well.

  8. Yum! Fun stories. Nice to have solved the cookbook mystery. And now you are keeping a piece of her spirit in your kitchen with recipes. Had never thought to find so much magic and mystery in mushrooms. You’ve written another beautiful post. Though one question: Since when does garlic qualify as a vice? It’s uber-healthy, yes? Sure, it may be stinky, but not to yourself when you’re the one eating it so… ?? 😀

    • Maybe I’ve watched too many movies but now i think all forests are enchanted so mushrooms must be too. As for garlic, it’s only a vice to the people around you. Kind of like drinking, although i guess more than one glass isn’t healthy the way more than one had of garlic could be. It’s all in the perspective with the garlic. At least no vampires will be coming for me. Though they can be kind of cute….

  9. Love reading your story and the mystery behind the book is finally solved. Your table is so inviting and I would love to try everything for a delicious “degustation”, the pictures are gorgeous, Amanda 🙂

  10. Making this for Sunday dinner Amanda. Nothing like a love affair with an elusive pie-making, harvest-table-owning, feisty femme fatale that lured you in with cookbooks. Have you seen The Lunchbox? Think you’d love it.

    • Oh i haven’t seen it! Thanks for the rec. Good to see you lindy. I almost msged you at your blog to see what you’re up to! Enjoy it if you do end up making it. I think you missed my fiction post last week. I was curious to hear you’re thoughts!

  11. What a lovely story about your neighbour – sounds like a novel int he ,akng thinking about her life behind her door working in her kitchen! Gorgeous recipe, I too would love to be a mushroom hunter and have secret fantasies of being invited to join Antonio Carluccio on a mushroom foraging walk!

  12. What a beautiful recipe! your photos look like a late summer picnic scene to me, so refreshing on a cold and grey day here in Germany! The garlic pictures are amazing as well!

  13. Fine post Amanda, I love the two shots of the garlic head and also the first mushroom shot is amazing. And the last paragraph, clever and so evocative. I’ll fly by you(r) (philosophy)! Also I do like the fact that you cooked in a dutch oven thereby creating the reduction “sauce.” I will for sure try before December is over. Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, sue. It’s easy to photograph a subject you’re in love with like garlic. I think you already fly by my philosophy. I was thinking of it because i burned my hands on the roasted garlic as i was putting it into the pot and the next morning i got a manicure because i had a work meeting with partners and i thought. .. how many people do this? Where you’re in one profession that calls for manicures and suits and your other profession is burns and floured egg wash hands. It’s a cool thing.

  14. The discovery of the mystery neighbour – sometimes the imagination is better than reality. The recipe already makes my mouth water and it is only 8am here – a long time to dinner. I’d love to go mushroom hunting, too, though I was never taken as a child and do not have the knowledge – dangerous. I was on a mushroom walk a few years ago with an expert explaining all the different specimens we saw and it was extremely interesting. Have a great weekend. N.

    • Wow that walk sounds fun. I really want to do that. I totally agree. I like making up stories about people to keep it interesting. The dish turned out really well. Thanks, as always. Enjoy your weekend!

  15. You’re so lucky you can pass Central Park everyday, so beautiful! I would go jogging there all the time if I lived there. I would be good at jogging if I lived there (I don’t jog much here, lol). What a beautiful recipe, winter is slowly ticking in now, I’m cold and this looks just perfect to help warm up.

    • Thanks, Sofia. It’s funny because I’m jealous of the visitors who make the time to enjoy the park. I will say that the morning walk is my favorite time of day. As for the chicken, definitely a keeper. I feel like you and i need to do a house exchange!

      • My house is way too basic and humble but you’d probably have a good time! The closest park here is Park Guell and it’s too hard to run in! Besides so many tourists go there that now you have to pay to get in… uuughhhh

  16. Lan | morestomach

    this is my kind of dish, heaped on a crusty piece of bread. the simplicity of it is what captures my attention, and then the flavors etc. i especially love that you use dark meat, which is my fave.

    • Thanks so much! Yes, dark meat is the way to go here. It’s perfect with mushrooms. I too, love the simplicity. My favorite dishes were typically known as peasant dishes. I guess I’m a woman of the people. 🙂

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