Wednesday, April 21, 2010

St. George, patron of England—April 23

St. George is among those many saints whose story has largely been taken over by legends—-but he did exist: he was martyred in the 3rd or 4th century; from an early period there is devotion to him as a soldier saint in the region of Palestine. At the time of the Crusades, European Christians fighting in the Holy Land became aware of the strong veneration in which George was held there. Knights fighting at the siege of Antioch saw a vision of St. George helping them—-and great devotion to him arose throughout Europe.

St. George is the patron of England, and in the 17th and 18th centuries his feast day was a holy day of obligation for English Catholics. He is also the patron of soldiers and the boy scouts—-and of many churches throughout the world.

However legendary some parts of his story may be, we do well to honor the memory of this martyr; and to honor as well the ideals of chivalry--of courageous and virtuous manhood--that he came to represent. And we all need saintly help with dragons, of one kind or another...

In England, St. George is often honored with mushroom dishes: the new mushrooms arrive in the market around his feast-day.

Here is a tasty dish, slightly modified from Ernst Schuegraf’s beautiful and useful book, Cooking with the Saints (Ignatius Press).

Creamed St. George’s Day Mushrooms
2 lbs. St. George’s Day [=little, new] mushrooms, if possible. If St. George’s Day mushrooms are not available, other mushrooms can be substituted.
4 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping [heavy] cream
1 teaspoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons dry cider
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Optional: 1-2 Tablespoons capers


Wash and clean mushrooms. Pat dry and slice if half if mushrooms are large.
Melt butter and sauté mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Stir in lemon juice and half the cream. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
Remove mushrooms from pan. Mix cornstarch with cider and remaining cream. On full heat add this mixture to the pan and heat thoroughly, adding the optional capers. Season with salt and pepper; taste for seasoning. Pour sauce over mushrooms, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and serve.
Suitable as a side dish or a light lunch. Creamed mushrooms are delicious on toast.


  1. Sounds wonderful!

  2. This sounds delicious indeed!

  3. In parts of Croatia, the feast of St George was seen as the true beginning of spring, so there are some folk traditions celebrating the arrival of "Green George" (zeleni Juraj, zeleni Jura), thus connecting old Slavic pagan beliefs with Christianity.