November 3, 2013:
Over the summer, I let the volunteer fennel in our backyard go to seed. (There’s a picture of the 6-foot-tall shrub in this post.) It didn’t occur to me then that letting this happen might cause a problem with more volunteer fennel. The husband had to point out to me that recently, fennel sprouts had popped up all over our lawn, and in between the brick pavers.
They needed to be yanked, yesterday, before they multiplied and took over the yard entirely.
Not wanting to let the sprouts go to waste, I used some as garnish for my latest batch of cream of chanterelle soup. (I also used Cognac but skipped the saffron, as I didn’t want the saffron to compete with the fennel.)
The result: decidedly woodsy, with a delicate texture, but bold in the bite. Perfect for a chilly autumn evening.
Note: If you don’t have chanterelle mushrooms available to you, try this soup with basic brown mushrooms. The veloute, egg, and cream give this soup a silky finished texture that you wouldn’t find in a typical cream of mushroom soup. With the right garnish, it’s also beautiful and worthy of a discriminant crowd. Cheers!
Original post from December 7, 2010:
I recently happened across some fresh chanterelles, and because they are like gold (they’re pricey, elegant and they sparkle), I wanted to make use of all 198 grams I had in my possession. After a plea on Twitter for suggestions, @Hank_Shaw kindly offered his “sexiest soup ever.”
In a little more detail, here’s what Hank had to say about his soup:
“Holy sweet Jesus on the cross was this good! The flavor hammers you with chanterelle’s beguiling flavor, backed with a whiff of saffron, the creamy mouthfeel of a classic veloute (stock whisked with a blond roux), and a slightly slutty wink from the dash of Armagnac I put in, all given added heft from a liaison of cream and egg yolks. Folks, this is what you want to eat right before a romp with Bella– fleas be damned.”
I was intrigued.
So over the weekend, I made a batch of my garden chicken stock (omitting herbs) specifically to use as a base for the soup.
With the 198 grams of chanterelles, it was just enough to make a half-recipe for Monday’s lunch. Unfortunately, we used the last of our Cognac with our post-Thanksgiving French Onion Soup (made with turkey stock), so I subbed in a Sancerre… a bit to cook with, the rest to drink.
My own thoughts?
Fleas be damned, indeed.
Hank’s Cream of Chanterelle Soup
After a good rain, collect some chanterelles, and make a pot of soup. For best results, use good saffron and cream. Finish with a dusting of parsley.
~ Serves 2-3 ~
~ Ingredients ~
- 3 cups garden chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 6-8 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms
- 1 shallot
- 2 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 ½ 1 egg yolk
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ shot brandy (Armagnac) ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads
- Salt to taste
- Optional: Handful fresh fennel sprouts, for garnish
~ Preparation ~
Preparation Time: 1 hour
- In a 2-quart saucepan, make the veloute. Heat the stock to a bare simmer. In another pot, heat the butter until frothing and stir in the flour. Stirring all the while, let this cook for a few minutes over medium heat. Do not let it brown. Note: If there is too much surface area on the bottom of the pan and it’s difficult to stir the roux, ladle in the stock 2 tablespoons at a time (just enough to cook the mixture without drying it on the bottom of the saucepan).
- Whisk the hot stock into the roux and let this simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often. You want it to slowly cook down by at least 1/3 and be silky looking.
- While the veloute is simmering, make the mushroom base. Reserve one or two small mushrooms for using as a garnish. Mince the remaining mushrooms and shallots fine and sweat them in a sauté pan over medium heat with a touch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms give up their water.
- Crumble the saffron into the dry white wine and add it to the mushroom base. Turn the heat up to high and toss to stir to combine. Cook until the wine is nearly gone.
- Buzz the mushroom base into a puree in a food processor.
- When the veloute is ready, add the mushroom puree and stir or whisk well to combine. Cook this at a bare simmer for 10 minutes.
- Slice a few chanterelles lengthwise and sear them in a dry pan until they give up their water and brown.
- Beat together the egg yolks and cream, then ladle – a little at a time – some soup base into the egg-cream mixture. This is called a liaison, and you are tempering the eggs with the hot stock slowly, so they do not congeal. Once you have the 2-3 small ladles soup into the egg-cream mixture, pour it all back into the soup and simmer. DO NOT BOIL.
- To finish the soup, turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining butter.
- Chop a small handful of Italian parsley leaves.
- Serve with seared mushrooms in the center and a sprinkle of fresh fennel sprouts, with crusty bread and white wine. I like a good Sancerre. Enjoy decadence.
Nutrition content per serving: 272 calories, 10.5g carbs, 5.5g protein, 22g fat, 1.5g fiber
Cost per serving: $6.31- $7.24
Source: Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. Contextually modified as noted by Rustic Garden Bistro.