Schutzhaus Fare: Wild Mushroom Stew

The weary traveler wanders through the green valleys and steep passes of Tyrol. She finds she can walk no further; her hunger prohibits her from taking another step. Luckily a humble Shutzhaus, a haven for hikers, appears through the pines, offering shelter and hearty sustenance to succor body and spirit.

Schutzhaus fare is simple yet wholesome, intended to satisfy the often ravenous appetites of those who have been wandering, sometimes for hours on end, the mountain passes of Austria. The 1905 Manöver-Küche cookbook provides a fascinating array of simple recipes to satisfy those appetites. It also offers the Shutzhaus proprietor valuable information on how to best store and use provisions and cooking utensils under less than ideal conditions. Meat must be carefully selected, the silverware thoroughly washed, and only the finest oil and coffee purchased lest it grow rancid or stale after months of storage.

Because these tiny cottages are usually located in areas that cannot be accessed by roads, the meals served are simple affairs, made from ingredients that do not require refrigeration. Here is a recipe from Manöver-Küche for wild mushroom stew, a meal where most of the ingredients come straight from the forest.

Wild Mushroom Stew

1 pound mushrooms, wild or store-bought
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1/2 bunch parsley
1/2 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup flour
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons sour cream

Clean the mushrooms and cut them into slices. Place them in a baking dish. Cut up butter and place on top of mushrooms. Add onion and sprinkle flour over the mixture. Pour in stock and sprinkle parsley and salt and pepper over the mushrooms. Cook in a medium oven for 1/2 hour, or until mushrooms are tender. Take out of oven and stir in sour cream. Serve immediately. This dish can also be prepared on the stove.

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