Mushroom Ketchup for a Blood-Red Steak


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes about

    3 x 450 g


Appears in

Around the World in 80 Dishes: Classic Recipes from the World's Favourite Chefs

Around the World in 80 Dishes

By David Loftus

Published 2012

  • About

Fogg continues his morning feast with ‘a scarlet slice of roast beef garnished with mushrooms’ and we’re going to follow his lead with a mushroom ketchup from the Reform Club’s Alexis Soyer. The word ‘ketchup’ comes from ‘kôe-chiap’ — used by Chinese seafarers as early as the seventeenth century to describe the brine of pickled fish — and the word sailed its way to our shores by way of maritime trading. The British used to pickle or ferment anchovies, oysters, walnuts or mushrooms for their ketchups and a splash of this fresh mushroom version on your blood-red steak makes for a zestfully spicy accompaniment.


  • 700g/lb fresh dark-gilled mushrooms
  • tablespoons pickling salt or table salt
  • 25g/1oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 large shallots, peeled
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled
  • 475ml/16fl oz white wine vinegar
  • 10 allspice berries
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 blades of mace
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tablespoons dry sherry


Begin by wiping your fresh mushrooms with a damp cloth and trimming off any dodgy ends. Slice the mushrooms thinly and put them into a ceramic bowl, along with the pickling salt. Give the mixture a good stir, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and set aside for the next 24 hours — occasionally giving it a few more stirs as and when you happen to drift by the kitchen.

An hour before you are ready to return to resume ketchup duty, you should attend to the dried porcini. Measure them out and place them in a bowl. Add 900ml/ pints of hot tap water and leave for about an hour, until completely soft.

Now you can start bringing the ingredients together. For this you will need a liquidizer or blender and a good heavy pan. First, remove the porcini from their bath, place them in the liquidizer, and purée until smooth. Put this mixture into your pan. Now transfer the sliced salty mushroom mixture to the liquidizer, blend until finely chopped and add to the pan along with the purèe.

Next into the liquidizer go the shallots, garlic, and 175ml/6fl oz of the white wine vinegar. Again, give this a good whiz and add to the pan, then follow with the remaining vinegar, the allspice berries, cloves, mace, bay leaves, ginger and black pepper.

Place your pan on a medium heat and bring the contents to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 1½ hours, or until the ketchup has thickened. Pass the mixture through a sieve to remove the spices and leaves, then put back into the liquidizer and blend until smooth.

Pour the ketchup back into the pan, add the dry sherry, and slowly bring to the boil, stirring constantly. When your ketchup is boiling, remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour the glistening sauce into clean pickling jars — remembering to leave a gap between the ketchup and the lid. Seal the jars tight, and plunge them into a bath of boiling water for about 20 minutes. Remove and cool the jars (and garnish with your own-brand labels). Superb with a slice of red-as-you-take-it steak, and a smooth glass of Barolo.