Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Deliciously Smooth -- Chanterelle Cream Sauce


One of the prettiest non-features of any mushroom is the smooth underside of Cantharellus lateritius or the aptly named smooth chanterelle. It grows in quite abundance around certain parts of Missouri and Mid-MO has its own hot spots. They are just starting to flush and the lack of rain has them coming on slowly yet in good numbers.

Although common chanterelles could easily be mistaken for the poisonous jack-o-lantern, the smooth underside provides certainty of the bountiful gourmet goodness that they bring, The smell is also a dead give away. If you get a lot of them together in a bag you'll notice this waxy light fruity smell instead of the usual pungent fungus smell of other mushrooms. Many guides describe the smell like apricots. And they taste the same way. Not like apricots, mind you, but unusual and unlike any other mushroom. They rival morels in taste in my own humble opinion, but then again I may not be that objective tonight, as I slathered a mess of sauteed chants over my KC strip for dinner.

Let me show you how easy these smooth fellows can make you into a gourmet. I was hungry and I found a great sale on steaks, but I wasn't thinking it through and so I didn't get anything to go with it. Now I have chanterelles, so I knew they were going in there - three different varieties in fact (common yellow and orange ones and of course smooths). I looked around and found an onion from the farmer's market and a little bit of cream left over from a batch of home-made ice cream for the 4th. I needed garlic but was out. I was about to turn to the powdered stuff when I remembered some garlic that had gone wild behind the house, so I went out and pulled some up. It was small but would do the trick.

And now for the recipe. Did I say that I do not believe in recipes and rarely follow one. That being said, be ready for long meandering explanations that you will have to translate onto your own recipe card if you want to preserve it. Also I am not a foodie and this is NOT a food blog. I just want to set the record straight.

Wednesday Night's Chanterelle Cream Sauce

Step one, pull the chanterelles into even pieces. You can cut them if you want, but I like the rougher look and it is just plain easier. Put a saute pan on medium heat and add just the tiniest bit of oil (preferably a light olive oil) to wet the pan.


Place the chanterelles in the pan and saute on medium stirring occasionally until they have reduced in size by half.


Add in some sliced onion, as much or as little as you like. Continue sauteing until the onion has just gotten translucent. Mince and add in the garlic and saute for 2 to 3 minutes.


Add in some cream. I was cooking for one here, so I started with only a handful of chants and I used about 1/3 cup of cream and some beef stock. I didn't have stock on hand because I grilled my steak, but I made some by cutting off 1/4 of a beef bullion cube and dissolving it in a 1/4 cup of water (if you want to slather this over chicken use chicken stock, etc.) Simmer on medium stirring often to reduce. Salt and pepper to taste.


When it has reduced enough it should be just about the consistency of that good old gravy at Thanksgiving.


Just at the end add small dab of butter, dissolve and stir for just 30 seconds. Pour it on and eat away. Be careful though it is very rich. I could not even finish my steak. Nothing better than these kind of leftovers.


You would pay $20 - 25 bucks for a steak like that in a restaurant. I know because I have. It just goes to show the rich rewards you can find in the woods if you can bear the heat and the bugs, oh and those dang spider webs. I think I hate the feeling of walking head-down, yet face first, into those sticky things most of all. However, it is well worth it.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Chanterelles don't come out until fall for us (Pacific NW) and your chanterelle posts leave me in great want! (I do have some dehydrated from last year, but not the same.) The thing is, just 6wks ago we went morel hunting for the first time (2#4oz). I thought it would tide me over, NO, now I've got an uncharacteristic impatience for fall! Boo on you sir! :)

CLoveR

Mycologista said...

thanks for posting this. I love seeing food made. I've got a nice bagful myself right now, this recipe would be perfect on pasta, too. Now, I've got a few other things I'd like to comment on--first, being OUT OF GARLIC, and second, NOT FINISHING THE STEAK. I don't know, I just don't know...

Anonymous said...

Have you gotten any more mushrooms from the rains that have been missing us in Saint Louis?

Feral Boy

Mack Shepperson said...

OMG! Mushrooms with cream are my best tummy buddies… LOL! I actually love creamy food because the taste of every ingredient is made much more evident by the sauce. Some mushrooms are healthy and edible, that's why my cousin has tried cooking them before. He knows I like cream, and he made a dish similar to this. I'll call him to cook for me now, haha!

Alice Shockley said...

I'd never had chanterelles and found some this weekend. I made this using chicken broth and a splash of white wine. Very good, though I kind of wish I'd eaten a mushroom before I put the cream in to see how they tasted. Oh, and I've learned to never reduce a cream sauce in my cast iron pans.

Alice Shockley said...

I'd never had chanterelles and found some this weekend. I made this using chicken broth and a splash of white wine. Very good, though I kind of wish I'd eaten a mushroom before I put the cream in to see how they tasted. Oh, and I've learned to never reduce a cream sauce in my cast iron pans.