July 21, 2014 | Updated November 02, 2020
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If Porcini are the kings of the mushroom world, chanterelles are its queen.
There are several varieties of chanterelle, ranging from the white to the cinnabar to the various yellow ones. Golden chanterelles are the most common variety of chanterelle here in the West, and those in the Pacific Northwest can start getting them in July. Here they don’t really pop until October, although you can go up to Humboldt and dodge the pot farmers for them in September.
Golden chanterelles are far less meaty and are more delicate than porcini, or really most any other common edible mushroom. Chanterelles taste floral and smell fruity, although I could not quite pick up the apricot notes many say golden chanterelles possess.
To me, chanterelles are less of a beef-venison-duck mushroom than a wild boar-pheasant-fish mushroom. Think white wine instead of red.
When cooking with mushrooms in general — and golden chanterelles in specific — lean towards butter as a cooking medium. Mushrooms enjoy a bath in butter far more than they do a dip in any other sort of fat or oil. I defy you to not swoon when you smell chanterelles, garlic and bacon sizzling in a pan of hot butter.
Butter is nice, but butter and cream are better. This chanterelle soup is an ode to the grand master of classic French cooking, Auguste Escoffier and his culinary bible, Le Guide Culinaire — it is, in essence, a cream of mushroom soup.
But this ain’t your mama’s cream of mushroom soup, folks. No packets here, no cans, either. This is the real deal. Remember how the wicked chef in the movie “Ratatouille” rolled his eyes back in his head when he tasted Remy’s soup? This is that kind of soup. And this is about as classic French as it gets.
This is, dear readers, the Sexiest Soup in the World: Escoffier’s Cream of Chanterelle Soup.
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.
Veloute, you say? Liaison? If you’ve dusted off your Mastering the Art of French Cooking, you may have recently been reminded of these terms, or if you are classically trained you may be having flashbacks.
Veloute (vel-oo-TAY), is easy. It’s a mixture of hot stock and a roux made from equal parts flour and butter. You must whisk in the stock to get the mixture to set correctly, which, when it does, makes a broth that looks like liquid satin.
Liaison is a bit harder, but only a bit. It is an ancient method of thickening a soup, by adding a mixture of beaten egg yolks and cream (the Greeks make avgolemono by adding a mixture of egg yolks and lemon). The trick is to temper your eggs so they do not scramble, then never letting the soup boil after the liaison is added.
The result? Not just any old chanterelle soup. This is sex in a bowl.
Looking for more chanterelle recipes besides chanterelle soup? I make a mean chanterelle pasta, and an even better chanterelle risotto.
Escoffier's Chanterelle Soup
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 1 pound fresh mushrooms, ideally chanterelles
- 2 shallots, minced
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 egg yolks
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 shot glass brandy
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- Salt to taste
- 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. 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 about 1/4 and be silky looking.
- While the veloute is simmering, make the mushroom base. Mince the mushrooms and shallots fine and sweat them in a saute 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 brandy and add it to the mushroom base. Turn the heat up to high and toss or stir to combine. Cook until the brandy is nearly gone. Buzz the mushroom base into a puree in a food processor. OPTIONAL: If you want a truly refined French soup, push this puree through a fine-mesh strainer.
- When the veloute is ready, add the mushroom puree and stir well to combine. Cook this at a bare simmer for 10 minutes. OPTIONAL: If you want a mushroom garnish, slice a few chanterelles lengthwise and sear them in an 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 3 or 4 ladles of soup into egg-cream mixture, pour it all back into the soup and simmer. Do not boil or it will break. OPTIONAL: Put this soup through the fine-mesh strainer again to remove any lumps and return to low heat.
- To finish the soup, turn off the heat and whisk in the remaining butter. Serve with the seared mushrooms in the center, with crusty bread and white wine. Enjoy decadence.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Ibhave a gallon of dried chantrels from summer, any idea on a weight conversion estimate?
I don’t consume nor buy alcohol, could you possibly suggest a replacement for brandy?
Flor: Just skip it then.
This is how I celebrate the start and the end of chanterelle season! Every spoonful leaves you wanting just one more…licking the bowl is not frowned upon, waste not want not! I follow the directions exactly… absolute perfection! I don’t think you can add too many mushrooms so if anything I used more than a pound but only because I find big ones out here in central CA.
I recently discovered hawk wing hedgehog mushrooms. I read that they could be bitter and was advised (via you-tube) to scrape the teeth ( they have teeth rather than gills). I rather enjoyed them and the last time I dried a batch, I almost died because the house smelled so heavenly. So if you come across them. I’m eager to try your recipe, I made a batch of hungarian mushroom soup with the hawk wing hedgehog. And let me just say this to gather and prepare a pound of hawk wing mushrooms, I only needed three of them. They are a large and meaty mushroom. The golden hedgehog mushroom is highly sought and supposed to be similar in taste to chantrelle, but I haven’t found one of those yet.
Picked my 1st chantrelles yesterday. Couple of questions:
1. To clean them I used a damp cloth and scraped them with a knife but they still have dirt on them. Does a rinse in a sink of cold water hurt them?
2. Does the finished soup freeze well?
Jared: A rinse won’t hurt them, and the soup freezes well if you freeze it BEFORE you add the cream and egg. Once you add the dairy, you need to eat it.
Made this tonight with slight substitution Didn’t have saffron and read that you can sort of sub a little turmeric and paprika and it turned out great! I also used some dehydrated ramps from this spring in place of a shallot. Hubby said it would make a great base for a potato or creamy crab soup too!
Awesome recipe!!! I shared some with an Iranian colleague, which got us talking about saffron. I haven’t cook with it much. She suggested placing the saffron in the brandy before starting the rest of the recipe to give the saffron some time to do its magic. The longer it sits in the liquid, the better, but she suggested at least 15 minutes as a minimum.
I have par cooked and frozen chanterelles (butter, shallot, s/p). Do ya think the flavor will be strong enough to use in this recipe if I still add the brandy and more shallot?
Elizabeth: Yes, I think so.
Thanks much for this recipe. I just picked three pounds of yellow feet here in Juneau. When you say to saute them until they give up their water, does that mean to continue until the water is evaporated or just until they “give it up”?
Erica: Until most of the liquid boils away.
Not a big fan of chanterelles traditionally although I love the thrill of finding them. Made this and absolutely loved it! This is my end goal from now on while hunting these little gold nuggets every year!
Jesus this is the best thing I’ve ever done with chanterelles. I do use almost double the amount of mushrooms to all other ingredients, but only if I’m that abundant.
Chanterelles are my ultimate favorite but I would highly suggest using only 1/4 or less of the cream/egg mixture as it dilutes the mushroom flavour too much. The soul tasted 10x better before adding this mixture!
I served this to David Arora and his guests at one of his Thanksgiving Mushroom Extravaganza years ago. I didn’t know then just how high the standard would be in that environment, and good thing, or I wouldn’t have done it.
It was a HUGE HIT.
So then I served it to some of my best friends while camping in Joshua Tree in winter.
They LOVED IT.
Whoa! That’s like serving royalty! Super glad he liked it.
I would love to make this but have only dried chanterelles; how would you adjust the recipe to use dried mushrooms instead?
Abby: I would rehydrate them overnight before making the soup. It won’t be the same, because chanterelles do not dry well. They lose a lot of what makes them special. But it will be better than nothing.
This soup was divine! I used Asbach instead of Armangac. Each spoonful was total decadence. Paired perfectly with Chardonnay and crusty bread. Thank you ?