What should I do with tons of chanterelles?
We were a little overzealous on our foraging trip yesterday and now I have tons of gorgeous chanterelles awaiting me at home in my kitchen. First up is grilled ribeyes topped with sauteed chanterelles, but that will hardly make a dent! How can I make these shine in dinners for the next week or so?
I would be glad to take some off your hands...
But if you MUST keep them all to yourself, I recommend risotto.
I love to put wild mushrooms in souffles. It really makes the flavor pop against a backdrop of cheese and eggs.
Whatever you can't use, you should dry. Last year we had a jaw-dropping porcini season - I could go out every other day and pick 10 lbs. This went on for about 2 weeks. This year NOTHING. Nada, zilch, not one single mushroom. So I was glad to have dried so many last fall. If you don't have a dehydrator, it's a very useful investment - the cost of dried mushrooms being what it is. Otherwise, you can lay them out on a cookie sheet and dry in a very low oven.
I think what he means is also what is called "dry sauteeing," You put a bunch of sliced fresh chanterelles in a dry skillet (here's where a teflon or nonstick skillet comes in handy) and turn it on high heat. (Chanterelles have a lot of water in them and if you just cook them like normal store mushrooms, they can turn out sort of limp and soggy.) The mushrooms will start to exude a shocking amount of fragrant liquid; I usually pour it off as I go (save it though). The mushrooms are ready to go once the remaining liquid is reduced and the mushrooms begin to squelch in the pan. Now you can use them in whatever recipe you have planned (risotto, sauces, etc.). OR, you can freeze them in whatever portion size you typically use (either freeze the mushrooms in a ziplock dry and freeze the stock separately, or freeze the mushrooms and sauce together).
I just had a similar issue to yours: around fifteen pounds of fantastic fresh buttony (and clean!!) chanterelles from our last foray. We ate copious amounts for three days, all the while processing them for freezing (dry sauteeing and freezing in ziplocks, dry and mixed with juice--depending upon what I will want to cook later).
I agree with Sam B that drying them doesn't work out so well. Yes, they do dry fine and look promising in golden chip form; however, they tend to be less flavorful and too rubbery in consistency when reconstituted (unlike boletes or morels, which almost improve in flavor upon drying and reconstituting). Dry satueeing and freezing is the best way to go, I think. I don't recognize any discernible difference in flavor at all between the fresh prepared and frozen prepared--unless you count the awesome aroma that happens when you initially dry sautee them... Ah well.
Things I like to make with chanterelles: risotto, reduction (from steak) mushroom topping with a teeny bit of red wine only, hungarian mushroom soup, cream sauce for pasta (great with mild fresh herbs). We also made a number of the pristine fat buttons into pickles--after sitting for a few days, the aromatic chanterelle flavor recovered from the pickling spices used and they are really quite excellent.
re: Sam B
I hadn't thought of freezing. Thanks everyone for the suggestions on how to do this. To report on our week of chanterelles thus far (after sharing about two pounds with good friends): Monday night was ribeye steaks topped with sauteed chanterelles. Tuesday was duxelles tossed with pasta and parmesan cheese. Tonight it will be risotto (thanks to Allstonian for the recipe!) and tomorrow maybe that gratin alkapal mentions in her post above. This weekend I'll cook the rest up and freeze, then Sunday we'll probably go out and get more - it's looking to be a good year for mushrooms with all the rain we're having and I'm a glutton for punishment (foraging in the rain). Thanks again for all of the help, and keep the suggestions coming if you have others.
One highly recommended way to freeze is to place the whole mushrooms in one layer on a cookie sheet, freeze them, then bag. Apparently works well to preserve them for a variety of future uses. With an abundance of meadow mushrooms this fall, I oven roasted them (nothing added, but they were sliced) at 400 for about 15 minutes and then froze them. It worked marvelously well. I hope for a good haul of oyster mushrooms this weekend.
Barmy or debit, do you have a risotto recipe you'd recommend? I just bought a package of arborrio rice this weekend but this would be my first time making risotto at home.
Thanks to everyone else for the recommendations. I could probably try all of them and still have mushrooms left, so keep the suggestions coming!
I follow Marcella Hazan's instructions for risotto. I'm not sure my results are perfectly restaurant-worthy, but they satisfy BFP! (I don't think I've ever managed to hit that perfect balance of creamy and just slightly wet with a little "bite" left at the heart of the grains, but I've gotten close enough for us.)
The main pieces of Marcella's rules that I've taken to heart are that I use a very diluted stock, since I do use canned (the horror!) - I normally use one can of stock to three or even four cans of water, when cooking 1.5 to 2 cups of dry rice. I bring the stock solution up to a simmer before starting in on the risotto, and keep it hot while I work, so that adding portions doesn't cool the risotto. And I cook the risotto over a high flame, which does require fairly constant stirring and tending. However, once I start actually cooking the risotto itself it's only 20 to 25 minutes until it's done.
(Prep work takes additional time, and MUST be done in advance. Because I do cook over high heat and have to stir fairly continuously, I have to be very careful to have ALL of the ingredients prepared and ready to use before I start cooking. Everything. Mince the shallots, chop up the mushrooms or asparagus or whatever, measure out the rice, grate the parmesan if that's going in at the end - this is one thing I cook that leaves me no wiggle room to prep something I forgot at the beginning.)
I use hers as well, and when I used canned, I do as you do, though, I've not found a beef canned stock that I like at all, and so always use diluted chicken stock instead. I think her recipe calls for 5 cups of liquid to 2 cups of rice, and I usually end up adding some more water to the simmer liquid at the end. I've never tried cooking it on a high flame - usually medium-ish and I make sure that it is not quite bubbling all along. Agree about the prep, though I can usually get my husband to either stir or grate the cheese as needed! Do you add in the butter at the end? I never do b/c I have an odd relationship with the taste of butter (though I use it copiously).
Duxells is really tasty, and you can do anything with it... (I wonder how it would freeze though?)
top a filet, filling for an omlette or crepes, tossed with pasta.,,
I think thats what someone meant by "sauteing them off".
I made this last week with a variety of mushrooms...I am sure if you used just chanterelles it would be terrific. I also used about half veal stock with the chicken stock, which was incredible.
Mushroom Risotto with Pancetta and Sage
Cremini mushrooms are sometimes sold as baby bella mushrooms. If they’re not available, button mushrooms make a fine, though somewhat less flavorful, substitute. Toward the end of cooking, judge the doneness of the rice by tasting it.
Serves 6 as main course, 8 as a first course
2 bay leaves
4 sprigs fresh parsley leaves
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
3 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 pounds cremini mushrooms , wiped clean with a paper towel, stems discarded, and caps cut into fourths if small or sixths if medium or large
2 medium onions , chopped fine (2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
2 ounces pancetta , finely chopped
1 pound Arborio rice (2 1/8 cups)
1 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
2 ounces Parmesan cheese , finely grated (about 1 cup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage leaf
Table salt and ground black pepper and ground black pepper
1. Tie together bay leaves and parsley sprigs with kitchen twine. Bring bundled herbs, porcini mushrooms, chicken broth, soy sauce, and 3 1/2 cups water to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat; reduce to medium-low and simmer until dried mushrooms are softened and fully hydrated, about 15 minutes. Remove and discard herb bundle and strain broth through fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl (you should have about 6 1/2 cups strained liquid); return liquid to saucepan and keep warm over low heat. Finely mince porcini and set aside.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add cremini mushrooms, 1 cup onions, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until moisture released by mushrooms evaporates and mushrooms are well browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in garlic until fragrant, about 1 minute, then transfer mushrooms to oven-safe bowl and keep warm in oven. Off heat, add 1/4 cup water to now-empty skillet and scrape with wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits; pour liquid from skillet into saucepan with broth.
3. Cook 2 ounces finely chopped pancetta and 1 tablespoon butter in large saucepan over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pancetta has rendered some fat, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1 cup onions, cooking onions until softened and translucent, about 7 minutes; Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until grains’ edges are transparent, about 4 minutes. Add wine and cook, stirring frequently, until rice absorbs wine. Add minced porcini and 3 1/2 cups broth and cook, stirring every 2 to 3 minutes, until liquid is absorbed, 9 to 11 minutes. Stir in additional 1/2 cup broth every 2 to 3 minutes until rice is cooked through but grains are still somewhat firm at center, 10 to 12 minutes (rice may not require all of broth). Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon butter, then stir in mushrooms (and any accumulated juices), Parmesan, chopped parsley, and sage. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; serve immediately in warmed bowls.
My two cents on chanterelles:
Try putting them in a bag or container full of water and then freezing them so they are frozen in a block of ice.
Always preserve them as soon as possible after picking, they can rot overnight if they are left to sit while fresh and moist.
I have never tried drying them yet but they reconstitute very well from the ice block.
Let it thaw a bit and then put them in a big bowl, Fill the bowl with warm water and run a bit more warm water in every few minutes and swirl the blocks around until they thaw. Then put them in a strainer/colander, rinse, and let them drip dry.
I picked some in August 2007 and froze them in water and cooked them just today; I am pleased to report that they turned out very well. I cooked them in a cream sauce with coriander and a bit of cumin, pepper, and garam masala. Very tasty. Email or PM me for the recipe.
Chanterelles seem to get a little bit bitter with freezing, but I have found that it is much less so when frozen with water. They also do not seem as rubbery when packed in water and when they are not cooked too hard.
An old local lady told me the water trick and I believe she is right.
I have not tried the dry saute preservation method but will certainly do so.
This recipe is from Suvir Saran's book Indian Home Cooking. I have edited it slightly.
1 lb mushrooms
1/2 cup butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped (I used shallots)
1 tsp salt
1 large garlic clove, crushed or finely chopped (I upped this quantity)
2 t ground coriander (much better if you grind it yourself :)
1 1/2 t ground cumin (again, best if homemade)
1 T all purpose flour
1 c milk
1/4 tsp garam masala (I made this fresh - coriander, cumin, a clove, a chip of cinnamon, and black pepper)
1 tsp white pepper (I used fresh black)
Heat the butter in a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. (I cooked longer until they started to get golden brown). Add the garlic and cook for a minute or so. Remove pan from heat and gently stir in flour. Return the pan to the heat and cook for 2 more minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually add the milk. Add the coriander and cumin. Add the mushrooms and stir gently to incorporate. Simmer them for 5 minutes. Add the garam masala and salt, stir, and simmer for another 3-5 minutes. You can also add extra coriander. Last, add pepper and check that it is salty enough.
Use discretion regarding the consistency of the sauce as the mushrooms cook. You may need to "sweat" the sauce a bit by stirring more frequently as it simmers. I sort of had to guess quantities because I was aiming for 2 lbs of mushrooms and was unsure how much I started with. Also, this recipe is originally for plain white mushrooms and they would have a different consistency than the chanterelles. Everyone liked it so I would make it again. It is rich, but hey...it's not like you are eating a whole recipe every day. :)
If you dry roast the coriander and cumin you do not need to fry them. If they are raw, they should be added before the flour to bring their flavor out.
though a totally different flavor than chantrelles, i found myself w/ an overabundance of matsutake mushrooms and basically put them in anything i was cooking...some winners were gyoza, fried rice, and sauteed w/ zucchini and onion in sesame oil w/ garlic and a splash of soy.
Some years ago there were a bunch of Alice Waters Thanksgiving recipes in the NY Times. One was for chanterelle stuffing--it was really just a classic bread stuffing but with loads of chanterelles rather than cultivated mushrooms. It's absolutely delicious, and would be great with a nice roasted chicken instead of turkey if you're turkey'ed out.
saute well with shallot and thyme. Poach eggs in red wine and serve eggs on toasted bread with the mushrooms.
Sautee in a pan with a knob of butter, top up 'shroom juices with chicken or veggie stock, season with S&P and thyme. serve as is, or add some cream and some crispy fried sage leaves.
I had the same "problem" a few years ago after collecting 60 lbs of golden chanterelles in New York (they are very common east of the Mississippi in elm and beech forests).
Dried chanterelles preserve all of the flavor and aroma of fresh, but are best used crushed or powdered.
My favorite way of preserving them is to fill a big pot with them, add some salt, a bottle of white wine and a few teaspoons of oil (to help capture the volatile compounds that give chanterelles their aroma), and cook them for about 20 minutes. Be sure that the pot doesn't boil dry, which shouldn't be a problem because the chanterelles will release liquid while cooking.
Squeeze a lemon onto the cooked chanterelles, toss them a few times and pack them into sterile mason jars (1 or 2 quart work best) leaving an inch or so of head room. Divvy the cooking liquid between the jars and then top the jars off with extra virgin olive oil. Cover the jars tightly, shake a few times to knock air bubbles out from between the chanterelles, and refrigerate.
This is not canning, but really a kind of pickling, so you do not need to maintain absolute sterility during the process. The acidity of the wine and lemon juice acts as a preservative and, combined with the large amount oxygen present in the jars, prevents the growth of dangerous bacteria. Chanterelles (or any mushrooms) preserved in this way will last over a year in the refrigerator. I'm still using some that I prepared almost two years ago. They are delicious as is, or can be used in place of fresh chanterelles in recipes.
Black pepper and thyme are good additions. These, and any other herbs you decide to use, should be cooked along with the chanterelles, rather than added uncooked at the end, to avoid microbial contamination that could lead to spoilage.