I’m in full-on mushroom mode this fall. Few things are better than that wholesome, nutty smell in my kitchen, and sautéed mushrooms are always a perfect bite before dinner. Add garlic to the sauté and you’ll hear earnest whimpers from my boyfriend about how good it smells. And they’re not too filling, either.
Did you a mushroom lover is called a mycophile?
I came across a organization with members that forage locally for mushrooms and host speakers with a deep knowledge of fungi – the Mycological Association of Washington, D.C. I saw a meeting they hosted on harvesting truffles, which piqued my interest for obvious reasons. I joined the group. They offer “forays” into the woods to seek out mushrooms – with experts. Don’t worry. I don’t want to be eating some red spotted toadstool mushroom, and be foaming at the mouth minutes later.
Anyone go mushroom foraging? What is it like?
I will usually buy mushrooms in bulk because I know they’ll get eaten – sometimes I’ll buy those stuffing mushrooms, other times I’ll get a huge bag of the loose cremini mushrooms.
But it’s a lot more fun to veer out of the produce aisle and head into the dried foods sections to seek out the interesting mushrooms stocked there. I hadn’t noticed the chanterelle mushrooms before. I’d usually just swing by to grab morels.
I was so excited to get home to taste these mushrooms – I couldn’t remember if I’ve had them before. They’re great reconstituted, almost spicy, but I can only imagine how much better they are fresh. Maybe it’s worth an order online. But for those who are like me without access to the fresh variety, the reconstituted dried chanterelles bring a deeper, woodsier flavor than your portabella or white cap mushrooms.
The base of this soup is a mushroom stock imbued with a variety of mushrooms I had on hand – baby bella, beech, oyster, shitake and chanterelle mushrooms all made the cut. Add some crushed garlic and springs of thyme, and that’s all she wrote. The stock was perfect.
If you love mushrooms, you’ll love this recipe. And if all else fails, just know you’re eating a cream-based soup, and really, how bad could that taste?
I N G R E D I E N T S
- 1 pound mushrooms of your choosing (I used baby bella, beech, oyster, shitake and reconstituted chanterelle mushrooms), plus 1 / 2 pound mushrooms of your choosing, sliced thick, for garnish, if desired
- 4 springs thyme
- 2 garlic gloves, crushed, plus 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 1 / 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 / 2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 / 2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 6 cups water
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons butter, salted or unsalted
- 3 tablespoons flour
- Olive oil, as needed
D I R E C T I O N S
- Combine the mushrooms, thyme, crushed garlic, 1 1 / 2 teaspoon salt and water in a pot. Allow to come to a boil. Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the stock is a deep brown flavor. If using reconstituted chanterelle mushrooms, strain those mushrooms, and add that liquid to the pot as well.
- Strain the stock through a colander lined with a paper towel to eliminate the dirt. Set the stock aside.
- In the same pot, melt the butter. Add the minced garlic, and allow to cook on medium heat for 2 minutes. Add the flour, and stir until the flour is incorporated into the butter mixture. Add the milk, heavy cream, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bring to a light boil. Allow to simmer and thicken slightly, about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, sautee a variety of mushrooms of your choosing (1 / 2 pound or so) in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper, for about 5 to 7 minutes on medium heat, until they are lightly browned. Set aside.
- Add 3 cups of the mushroom stock to the soup. Allow to simmer for 15 additional minutes, until the soup reaches a chowder consistency. Taste the soup for seasonings (salt & pepper), and adjust accordingly.
- Plate the soup, topping with extra sautéed mushrooms for garnish, if desired.