Chestnut Mushrooms also known as brown cap mushrooms, have a strong taste and look like a darker version of the button mushroom. They have pink to dark brown gills and are very popular in Europe and Asia. In the U.S., they are known as “Black Poplar” mushrooms. Some growers who cultivate this mushroom market it under the brand name “Velvet Pioppini”.
Chestnut or brown cap mushrooms have a brown outer skin, a firm texture and a strong, nutty flavour. They are similar in conformation to the cultivated white mushroom, to which they are related. Their lower moisture content makes them an excellent choice for pates, breads and pastries. These mushrooms are available infrequently.
The closest readily available equivalents would be Crimini or Portabello mushrooms, although any flavorful brown mushroom would probably be an acceptable substitute.
How to use Chestnut Mushrooms
Chestnut mushrooms can be served raw or cooked but it’s always best to cook mushrooms before use to avoid any stomach sensitivity issues. They are very versatile and can be included in salads, pasta dishes, sauces, quiches, casseroles, soups and omelets.
How to Prepare and Cook
All mushrooms should be washed and dried with a kitchen towel before use. Leave the mushrooms whole or slice as necessary.
Chestnut or brown cap mushrooms are best sautéd. Heat a little butter in a frying pan and fry for 4–5 minutes or add to dishes 5–10 minutes before the end of cooking time. You can also grill, stir-fry, roast or poach them in the microwave.
How to Store
Keep in a paper bag in the fridge for up to 3 days. Do not store them in a plastic bag because they will sweat and quickly spoil.2