Creamy Chanterelle Soup

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'Tis the season for wild mushrooms, and I will happily shell out $10/lb for Chanterelles at the PSU Farmer's Market while they are in such abundance. When trying to decide what I wanted to do with Saturday's chanterelle stockpile so I could buy more at the Wednesday market, I searched the internets for ideas thinking, “I should do something other than a soup. Evvvvvveryone makes a soup out of chanterelles.” However, when I clicked on a link for (surprise!) chanterelle soup, the blogger concluded this soup was no less than sex-in-a-bowl, in fact, orgasmic. I quickly retorted to the blogger (who I’m sure heard me talking out loud to myself in my kitchen, right?) “Well, guess I might as well take it however I can get it, even in soup form, since I doubt I’ll be having that for a while.” -See previous post about divorce.- After I made myself laugh and figured my mother would be properly scandalized at calling anything sex-in-a-bowl, I decided I was going to make not-just-any-old-chanterelle-soup, but sex-in-a-bowl-soup.  I followed the instructions for making the veloute but skipped the step for creating an egg yolk liaison because I thought it was plenty creamy enough once I sent it through the blender, even before I added some actual cream.  Did it live up to it’s name? Or would it have lived up to it’s name if I’d only thrown in the 3 egg yolks alongside the cream? Well, honestly, I think pureed mushrooms are still a poor substitute for the real thing, but as far as soups go, it was quite smooth and delicious. I certainly recommend eating it, just don’t get your hopes up that high.

Also, since there’s only so many ways one can photograph a bowl of cream soup, the kitty thought it needed more whiskers and fur to liven it up a bit.

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  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound fresh chanterelles, quickly rinsed but not submerged in cold running water, then wipe off any pine needles or other debris with a paper towel, plus extra handful of cleaned chanterelles to thinly slice and saute and serve on top as a garnish
  • 2 medium-sized shallots
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1/2 cup Madeira (or Brandy, though you probably would use less. I used Madeira because it’s what I had available, and I also didn’t exactly measure the amount…mwhahahaha)
  • 1/4 teaspoon saffron
  • sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste

In a medium-sized pot, heat the butter until melted and whisk in the flour. Keep whisking for a few minutes but do not brown. This step of equal parts flour and butter used to thicken sauces or soups is called a roux. You cook the flour so it won’t have a raw-flour taste, but combining it with the butter also makes it easier to incorporate a liquid without ending up with a sad, lumpy sauce or soup.

Whisk the broth sloooowlllllly into the roux. Start off with just a little bit, whisk whisk whisk, then keep adding the broth a little at a time until it starts to look more like a liquid and less like flour and butter. Then you can add the rest of the broth a lot faster now. Let this simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring often. You want it to slowly cook down by at least 1/3 and be silky looking. Congratulations, you made veloute, one of the French Mother Sauces! (Thank you, thank you, Cooking 2: Sauces, Soups and Stocks class at Midwest Culinary Institute).

While the veloute is simmering, dice the mushrooms and shallots. You don’t need to be too picky about the size of the mushrooms and shallots, as you will puree the soup later. In a large-sized pot, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Add the mushrooms and shallots and cook, stirring often, on medium heat until the shallots are translucent and the mushrooms have released all their liquid and it has evaporated.

Crumble the saffron into the Madeira and add it to the mushroom mixture. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook until the Madeira has mostly evaporated.

Pour in the hot, thickened stock (the veloute) and let the soup simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. At this step, I then refrigerated the soup overnight and pureed it the next morning while it was cold, though it’s okay to puree it while hot, just be very careful to not splash hot soup on yourself, and hold onto the lid for dear life (remove the little center doodad and cover the hole with a kitchen towel as a precaution against exploding hot soup), or puree the soup with an immersion blender, though I found it to not be as smooth as using a regular blender.

Pour the mushroom puree back into the soup pot, and add the cream (you could probably use whole milk to save a few creamy calories, though I decided not to….)

If you want a mushroom garnish, which I highly recommend for the textural contrast, thinly slice a few chanterelles lengthwise and saute them over medium-high heat with a little extra butter until they are lightly browned and tender. Sprinkle the sauteed mushrooms and the fresh chopped parsley on top of each bowl of soup.