The trooping funnel is a common and striking mushroom that is difficult to miss — make the most of spotting it by brewing up this warming rustic stew
The trooping funnel (Infundibulicybe geotropa) is a large and stately edible that reaches up to 30cm in height and can obtain cap diameters in excess of 20cm. It also grows in numbers, forming rings or, as its name suggests, lines or troops, making it both easy to spot and ideal to forage for a main meal. Trooping funnel is one of the hardier winter fungi, with the ability to survive light frosts, and can be found in leaflitter, verges and hedgerows well into December.
It’s surprising that this mushroom doesn’t feature more on restaurant menus or in farm shops, as it’s strongly flavoured and attractive on the plate, with firm white flesh. It is popular in farmers’ markets of the Catalan region of Spain, however, and it’s from there that we looked for inspiration for this stew, which embraces the flavours of rich red wine, salty pork, smoked garlic and paprika. While trooping funnel can be served fried straight, when cooked slowly in a stew it almost takes on the taste and consistency of marinated artichoke, lending the dish a really rustic, earthy flavour and texture.
Trooping funnel does have some poisonous lookalikes — including the potentially deadly ivory funnel — although these reach nowhere near the same size. Check our foraging guide for more information on how to identify this mushroom safely.
Ingredients (serves four):
Olive oil for frying
Caps of two large trooping funnels, with cap sizes approx 15-20cms. (Save the fibrous stems or for making stock)
1 x 80g packet saucisson sec (chorizo can also be used as an alternative, but adjust the smoked paprika accordingly)
4 rashers streaky bacon
1 x 400g tin chopped plum tomatoes
1 x 400g tin cannellini beans
1tbsp tomato puree
3 x smoked garlic cloves
1 vegetable stock cube
2tsp smoked paprika
Handful chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
Add glug of olive oil to a pan and sauté the onions and then the garlic. Once the onion has turned translucent, add the saucisson sec and the bacon.
Cook until they bacon and saucisson sec start to slightly caramelise and then stir through the smoked paprika and cumin. Add the trooping funnel and continue to cook until this begins to golden.
Add the tinned tomatoes, tinned beans, bay leaf, tomato puree, and wine and cook for around 30-40mins until sauce has reduced and thickened.
Serve with fresh, thick-sliced bread
Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!