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Cooking with chanterelles


chezcherie
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One of the most hardcore home cooks and winemakers I know is also a die-hard mushroom forager. He has done local journalism on food and mushrooms. His Web site includes a wild mushroom cookbook from extensive cooking experiments, with photos. There are references to many wild mushroom species, especially of the Western US, but as I mentioned earlier, mushroom recipes tend (with a few exceptions dependent on peculiar mushroom flavors or pairings) to work with many species. This friend taught me tips on mushroom foraging (including finding choice blewits in an unlikely urban vacant lot around old trees).

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http://www.countrylife.co.uk/countryside/article/280522/Best-pheasant-recipes.html

if you struggle to get chanterelles i'm not sure how easy it is to get pheasant but this mark hix recipe has got to be my all time favourite way to eat chanterelles..... mmmmm I also had a great Pierre koffman dish that was chanterelles, escargot and bone marrow that was mind blowing too

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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....

In my region (San Francisco area), chanterelles are the common wild mushroom (not the only type, but the most common) and prolifically abundant in the wooded areas after rains. Many people are unaware of how plentiful they are, but it's not unusual for foragers to find more than they can carry, fresh and in good condition. Periodically they show up in quantity in local markets when professional foragers get to work. (They're one of the several famous wild mushroom types simultaneously classified edible/choice and distinctive-- not easily mistaken for dangerous types.)

Aaah, I presume you don't have the "False Chanterelle" (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) in your area ... The false one is not a good choice to eat!
I recall a peculiarity of chanterelles, a biochemical quirk, harmless but possibly disconcerting. For some reason, many people who talk about wild mushrooms don't appear to know about this. In varying concentrations, chanterelles contain something that interferes with alcohol metabolism (I assume it either blocks or swamps the alcohol-dehydrogenase enzyme group that clears alcohol from the blood and begins converting it to useful energy -- other substances can do that too). Normally, when you take in alcohol, the amount in your blood relects a difference between your intake rate and the counteracting scavenging action of the enzymes. If the scavenging stops, you get a higher than usual blood alcohol level for a given intake rate. I've heard anecdotes of people consuming chanterelles in quantity (like half a pound, not unusual when they're locally available) and getting unusually tipsy from a glass or two of wine. Please don't tell the binge-drinking college kids about this.

Do you have a reference for that?

My immediate thiught is that you may be confusing it with certain members of the Coprinus group - notably the "Common Ink Cap" Coprinus atramentarius.

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Thanks for all the suggestions! My current region is Nova Scotia, but I don't know if we have false chanterelles in the area. The forager was one with creditable experience, and the cleaned, stripped mushrooms were eaten with a steak and a nice tempranillo, with no unduly strange alcoholic reactions.

My parents, who'd had another bag previously off the same forager, said they'd cooked them whole and not particularly enjoyed them. I cleaned this batch with a nut pick, lacking a brush, and stripped them as described. They were exceptional sauteed in a bit of butter with pepper. The taste was more of maple than pine for me - I would love, love to try these mushrooms in a Japanese dish, but no hopes of getting another bag before I head back to China sadly.

if you struggle to get chanterelles i'm not sure how easy it is to get pheasant but this mark hix recipe has got to be my all time favourite way to eat chanterelles.....

A family of pheasants lives in my family's back garden! My father and I have eyed them hungrily from time to time, but to my mother, they're friends. She'd be annoyed if I hauled out the .22!

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if you struggle to get chanterelles ...

Worth knowing about for out of season or places where they're uncommon: Some regions use Chanterelles in quantity, and routinely sell canned ones. (I've especially noticed that in Germany, a place so mushroom-addicted I've seen markets with canned wild mushrooms comparable in size to the canned-soup sections in US markets. Germany calls Chanterelles Pfifferlinge.) A canned Chanterelle source sold theough Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Roland-Chanterelles-pfifferlinge-7-9-Ounce-Pack/dp/B001EO7J7I

Some local friends routinely make a Chanterelle "bread pudding" for the Thanksgiving holiday in November. It is VERY good.

I presume you don't have the "False Chanterelle" (Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca) in your area ...

We may (or even the more toxic Omphalotus olearius); it's more that they don't get confused much in practice, certainly not by professional gatherers or people who know Chanterelles well. Just as the so-called false morel doesn't look exactly like a morel if you know morels well. Despite misconceoptions of some wild-mushroom phobics, who act as if every edible wild mushroom were easily mistaken by experts for something lethal, there are a few edible/choice varieties, a very few very dangerous ones, and little overlap; most mushrooms are neither choice nor very toxic and most "toxic" mushrooms, including those just mentioned, have only temporary effects.

I distinguish those hazards from the deadly Amanita phalloides, mistaken (rarely) for a bolete when immature, more often for a S. E. Asian mushroom when mature. The latter error, among S. E. Asian immigrants familiar with the lookalike, caused most N. American mushroom-poisoning deaths in recent decades. Another distinction, requiring true expertise, is sorting out the edible Amanita species -- as my father used to do (multiple Amanitas, as well as multiple Chanterelles, puffballs, etc. grew on his land).

chanterelles contain something that interferes with alcohol metabolism

Do you have a reference for that? / My immediate thiught is that you may be confusing it with certain members of the Coprinus group - notably the "Common Ink Cap" Coprinus atramentarius.

The information came from multiple Chanterelle gatherers (some of whom were also scientists and some of whom also reported experiencing this effect!) when I was first cooking Chanterelles in quantity some 30 years ago. It's possible that they confused the mushroom type. If I find a good source I'll post it.

(Note: This posting was not actualy "edited." Stupid browser originally let fly the raw quotations prematurely.)

Edited by MaxH (log)
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My gf went out with her sister to pick blueberries and brought home a 4 liter pail full of chanterelles. I didn't do anything fancy with them. Grilled some steaks and sauteed the mushrooms in butter. The next time I get some maybe I'll plan something interesting but wanted to just enjoy those nice and simple.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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That's hilarious... my gf just walked in my door with another pail of chanterelles. I'll have to post about it more often so I get more. :biggrin:

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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That's hilarious... my gf just walked in my door with another pail of chanterelles. I'll have to post about it more often so I get more.

Like calling the chanterelles! I'm hoping my source comes through with another bag this week, so I can try them in rice. Please keep posting;)

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  • 11 months later...

Giving this topic a bit of a bump, since some friends we visited earlier this week were incredibly sweet, and gave us a vast number of golden chanterelles as a parting gift.

Anyone getting their hands on these, and care to share recent recipes and images?

Tonight I'll be experimenting with some of the ones we have (images later, unless the results turn out to be disastrously unphotogenic).

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
Manager, eG Forums
mscioscia@egstaff.org

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I got more than I had uses for last year but they're late this year in my area (none so far in my usual places and others are reporting the same) so I'm not sure how this season is going to go.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Mjx, lucky you!

Me, still dreaming of a lunch in Paris a few years ago: a perfect omelet filled to bursting with sauteed chanterelles. Good bread and a glass of sancerre. That's what I'd cook.


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Giving this topic a bit of a bump, since some friends we visited earlier this week were incredibly sweet, and gave us a vast number of golden chanterelles as a parting gift.

Lucky you. I suggest a summer salad of sauteed chanterelles with green beans, roasted red bell peppers, and toasted hazelnuts, in a red wine vinaigrette. Saute the chanterelles in olive oil with salt, and combine with the roasted red bell peppers and a red wine vinaigrette with a little minced shallot in it. Let marinate briefly. Just before service, add in green beans (cooked al dente) and chopped toasted hazelnuts. Now that I'm thinking about it, I should make this salad again soon.

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About storing the chanterelles I have tried three methods:

1- Saute them in a dry pan. If you add too much fat ,then wont be good as long in the freezer. (a little fat is ok) Package and freeze.

2-Freeze in the entire mushroom, whole as they are. This is perfect, except it takes up way too much freezer space. Where as method 1 shrinks them to nothing.

3- My favorite method is drying them and then packing them. I have a dehydrator, so it takes about 2 hours at a low heat. Otherwise, you can lay them out all over your house and wait a few days. Just don't stack them on each other, since all that liquid wants out, they easily spoil if the process takes too long.

The beauty of method 3 is you can easily grab a hand full is you making a risotto, stew, quiche, sauce, etc. I always have a glass jar here my stove, hjust in case. ;)

I use them on pizzas, sandwiches, sauces, pancakes, etc. Delicious!

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  • 2 years later...

We foraged 17 pounds of beautiful young chantrelles yesterday. Made risotto last night, omelettes this morning. Several pounds went into duxelles. Some are being marinated and others have been sautéed. Should I freeze them? Can them?

Looking input on what works best for preserving. I've heard drying is not a good strategy with chantrelles. What would you do with a surplus of chantrelles?

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Honestly, I don't think drying is all that harmful to the flavor, so much as the texture of them. I would also think that freezing or canning would adversely affect the texture of them. You could possibly prepare them first, say in a tapenade or something similar, and then can them. If I posessed that quantity of chantrelles, I'd just gorge myself on them till they were gone. :biggrin:

I'm a lifelong professional chef. If that doesn't explain some of my mental and emotional quirks, maybe you should see a doctor, and have some of yours examined...

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mmmm......Bayless mushroom tacos, but only because I'm obsessed with home made corn tortillas with veg fillings right now. I guess I wouldn't freeze them fresh, but I don't see why they wouldn't freeze perfectly well after being cooked, for instance if you made some type of mushroom topping or sauce that would go on spaghetti or in a lasagne and then froze it in useful portions to be used as desired. Dunno for sure, but I imagine that fresh-frozen would end up a soggy mess when defrosted.

Just curious, where do you live that you have fresh chanterelles right now? I used to love going out and collecting them here in northern CA but got tired of the poison oak than often accompanied the best patches.

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Golden mushroom soup, tapenades and mushroom patés, and drying would be my votes. Although, like Dave Hensley, I'd probably just gorge myself on them until they were all gone. Lightly sautéed in a bit of butter on rye toasts, mmmmm. Dangitall, now I have an urge to go shrooming! (Although I haven't a snowball's chance in the furnace of finding chantrelles, I've got a good shot at some good slimecaps right now, and possibly puffballs.....)

ETA - you could probably also try preserving them in good olive oil - then you'd end up with both the chantrelles and a tasty chantrelle-flavoured oil to cook with later on....

Edited by Panaderia Canadiense (log)

Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

My eG Food Blog (2011)My eG Foodblog (2012)

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Personally, I'd take the opportunity to try as many different techniques & recipes as I possibly could that takes advantage of fresh chanterelles and figure out the preparations I liked best, rather than trying to preserve them. Preservation wise, maybe flash freezing (if you have the capability) would be the best method. Just chucking them in the freezer would likely ruin them though.

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To preserve them in oil, use 1 cup white wine vinegar, 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 cups oil (or to cover) per lb mushrooms, plus whatever aromatics you prefer (eg a few sprigs of thyme, couple of lightly crushed garlic cloves, bits of lemon peel, peppercorns etc).

Simmer everything but the oil and mushrooms for ~20mins, then add mushrooms for ~10mins.

Heat the oil to 170.

Remove the mushrooms to a jar along with whatever bits of the aromatics you want to keep to develop the flavour, pour the oil on.

Refrigerate it, leave it for 2 weeks, eat within six months.

Always worth checking for any food safety issues with preserving, too.

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Honestly, 17lbs. of wild chanterelles is like a pot of gold. I like them sauteed in a butter, a little olive oil, garlic and thyme. And creamed chanterelles on toast? Fantastic.

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Over the years my husband and I have collected a lot of chanterelles, filling up big coolers. We always briefly sauteed them and then popped them in freezer bags. Cut them if necessary to make everything the same size, put them in a dry skillet and cook them until the juices are released and then are starting to go back into the mushroom. No salt, no butter or any other liquid, just what the mushrooms produce.

I've never found a significant deterioration of flavor or texture. And you're going to cook them anyway. I don't think they dry very well, or at least they don't reconstitute as well as porcini.

By the way, we coined a term, "mushroom greed," to identify the phenomenon of collecting more mushrooms than you can easily process. At times we'd park out small RV in a campground, clean and cut up chanterelles and porcini and process them at the end of the day. I'd cook up the chanterelles on our 2-burner propane cooktop and freeze them in the wee fridge freezer. What wouldn't fit in the freezer would be stashed in the fridge for processing when we got home. We'd even pre-slice the porcini to put in the dehydrator.

Congratulations on your 17 pounds of the finest mushroom in the forest. I think cooking them up with potatoes and bacon is the best possible use, though it is marginally better with fresh (not frozen) mushrooms. Equal amounts of each ingredient, and nothing else. Give the potatoes a head start, though.

Nancy in Pátzcuaro (formerly Nancy in CO)

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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We got an abundance of them this year too. I ate them until I didn't want them anymore, I used them in almost everything... and I still have probably 15 lbs. in the freezer. Now I'm running into the same "problem" with the wild blueberries. I have somewhere around 10 gallons in the freezer and 4 gallons of fresh sitting on the kitchen table and there are still tons of them out there to be picked.

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It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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Thanks all for the great suggestions! Tacos would never have occurred to me so I may have to try that. I've sautéed most of them up and will freeze what I don't consume in the next few days or give to friends. Next weekend we'll be hiking again so I will likely have more. Would love to find some boletus!

@ Katie -- I live in Seattle and we gathered the mushrooms on the wet side of the Cascade Mountains.

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