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The following recipe and post came from my “baby” brother, Kal. Kal lives in Seattle and we share recipes back and forth almost weekly. I think (really, I know) he is a better baker than I and he makes dinner for his wife and for himself nightly – always using fresh, local ingredients. The funny thing is that there have been times when I have tried a new recipe published in the New York Times or Seattle Times, and without consulting each other, Kal makes the same recipe the same night – using the SAME SUBSTITUTIONS!
Kal’s Ode to Fungi
Fall mushroom season is something we all look forward to in our family, especially around Thanksgiving. Several years ago we introduced the young ones (age is relative here) to mushroom hunting and you would think they all discovered a new invention or something. Especially with the youngest, any time you find something they prefer over electronics, you know you hit it big. Now every year for Thanksgiving, no one ever asks about what we’re making for the meal. All they want to know is when we get to go mushroom hunting.
Being a recreational forager, I stick with the most easily identifiable and edible fungi. Chanterelles are my favorite. Also called “golden chanterelles”, they are not all alike.European and Asian forms are about as big as my thumb. But in the Pacific Northwest, we get the best and they can be the size of a dinner plate, with average mushrooms coming in at two or three inches across.
So first we have to forage and collect our mushrooms. A good spot in the woods can easily yield a few pounds in a matter of minutes if you’re lucky. They love deep mossy ground around Douglas Fir trees. But it takes time to trim, wash and dry. The grocery store variety is acceptable for this soup recipe, but at $20.00 a pound, which I just saw the other day, I’ll pass. Plus, you just can’t match the freshness of picking and cooking the same day.
Cream of Chanterelle Soup
- 2 cups chanterelle mushrooms
- ½ medium onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T butter
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 T fresh sage, chopped
- 1 ½ cups cream or half & half
Clean and chop mushrooms into large pieces. Set aside to dry on paper towels.
Sauté the mushrooms, onion, garlic and celery over low heat in butter until onion and mushrooms are soft. Pour off most of the liquid. Then add kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add 2 cups chicken broth and keep on low heat until the liquid is reduced by about half (about 10 minutes). As a nice variation, you can add a few strands of saffron at this point. Take out about half the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Add fresh sage, then transfer the rest of the cooked soup into a blender and puree. Return this to the soup pot, add salt and pepper to taste, if needed. Temper the cream (heat slowly and be careful not to boil) then add to the soup, slowly whisking. Simmer until thickened again. Serve with reserved, large, chopped mushrooms on top.