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Wild-Rice and Mushroom Custards

1/2 ounce dried mushrooms, Wild
2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mushrooms, wild
1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
3 egg yolks, beaten
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup half and half
1/4 cup pecan halves, chopped
fresh ground pepper
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped

In a bowl, combine the dried mushrooms and 1/2 cup of the boiling
water, let stand for 30 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid.
Squeeze out any excess liquid, then chop finely. Strain the liquid
through a sieve lined with cheesecloth (muslin). Reserve the liquid
and mushrooms separately.

Place the rice, the remaining boiling water and the 1/2 teaspoon
salt in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Cover and cook, without
stirring, until tender and no water remains, about 40 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool.

In a frying pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the
fresh and reconstituted dried mushrooms and cook, stirring, until
sof and the moisture has evaporated, about 10 minutes. Remove from
the heat. Finely chop half of the mushrooms and place in a bowl.
Set aside the unchopped mushrooms in the pan.

To the bowl, add the thyme, eggs, half and half, cooked wild rice,
pecans and salt and pepper to taste, mix well.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter six 1/2-cup ramekins. Place
them in a baking dish and pour water into the dish to reach halfway
up the sides. Divide the rice mixture evenly among the ramekins.
Bake until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean, 30-35
minutes. Remove the dish from the oven, then lift out the ramekins.

About 10 minutes before the custards are ready, in a saucepan,
combine the cream, the reserved soaking liquid and cheese. Place
over medium heat and simmer until reduced by one-third, about 10
minutes. Season to taste with salt. Keep warm.

Place the plan hoplding the reserved unchopped mushrooms over medium
heat and heat, stirring, for about 2 minutes.

To serve, spoon the warm sauce onto individual plates. Invert 1
custard onto the center of each place. Distribute the unchopped
mushrooms around each custard. Garnish with parsley and serve.


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