Chanterelle Soup

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Chantrelle mushrooms growing
Photo by Hank Shaw

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.

finished chanterelle soup recipe
Photo by Holly A. Heyser

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.

chanterelle soup recipe
4.79 from 65 votes

Escoffier's Chanterelle Soup

This is my adaptation of Auguste Escoffier’s Veloute Agnes Sorel, from his classic Le Guide Culinaire. This is a rich, lovely mushroom soup that screams for Chardonnay — or at least some sort of full-bodied white that’s gone through malolactic fermentation. Maybe a Viognier. What makes this soup Escoffier is the fact that I am using a veloute (vel-oo-TAY), a mixture of a simple butter-flour roux and poultry stock. I am also putting the soup together the way Escoffier directs, although I leave the addition of a liaison of eggs and cream up to you. I like it.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: French
Servings: 6 people
Author: Hank Shaw
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Ingredients 

VELOUTE

  • 6 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons flour

SOUP

  • 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

Instructions 

  • 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.

Notes

If you can't find chanterelles, other shrooms I’d suggest would be, in order: porcini, morels, cremini, button. If you make this with another kind of mushroom and like it, definitely leave me a comment so I can give it a whirl.

Nutrition

Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 11g | Fat: 24g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 162mg | Sodium: 362mg | Potassium: 545mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 770IU | Vitamin C: 2.7mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 1.4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe? Tag me today!Mention @huntgathercook or tag #hankshaw!

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About Hank Shaw

Hey there. Welcome to Hunter Angler Gardener Cook, the internet’s largest source of recipes and know-how for wild foods. I am a chef, author, and yes, hunter, angler, gardener, forager and cook. Follow me on Instagram and on Facebook.

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120 Comments

    1. Bojana: Maybe? I never dry chanterelles as I find it destroys their flavor. Instead, I sauté them and then freeze in packets for dishes like this later in the year.

  1. Ok this is year … I can’t remember what of making this soup. Chanterelles harvested in Newfoundland Canada, some from the stream side along our summer house. I substituted yellow onion and added some Chambord to the Brandy. Years past included Irish Whiskey and Newfoundland Screech rum. Always delicious and one of our must do dishes. Thanks Hank for publishing the great recipes and I can’t wait to have steak Dianne if I harvest a deer this year.

  2. This soup is ridiculously good. Like an endorphin rush after every bite (sip?). It is also easy and fun to make. I didn’t pass it through a strainer but I did hit is with a stick blender at the end. Hands down the best use of chanterelles I have yet to try. After tasting it, my wife just said, “obviously, you will be making this again.”

  3. This soup sounds amazing and just the recipe I am looking for to add that extra pizzazz to a foraging/dining event that I am hosting. However, I would need to make it ahead of time. Do you have any suggestions on what could be made ahead and what can be added on site, to make the process smoother?

    1. I made this for a potluck this weekend and it travelled and reheated well. It was a major hit, even among the kids! My nephew even asked me to take him mushroom picking!

  4. This method works really well with wild oyster mushrooms too. A few dashes of hot sauce at the table really puts it over the top.

  5. I’ve been using this recipe at least once a year since I first tried it (shortly after Hank posted it in 2014). I still haven’t found anything that amplifies chanterelle flavor and aroma like this soup.

    Having had some luck this season with coastal porcinis, I decided to try a porcini version with a few tweaks. It was phenomenal- elevates and amplifies the porcini taste as well as it did the chanterelles.

    The method here is basically identical, but some chanterelle-appropriate ingredients were swapped out for more porcini/nutty-earthy tastes:

    (For the porcini base)
    – 1 pound fresh porcini, sliced
    – 1 pound fresh chopped celery
    – 1 med/large yellow onion (sub for shallot) diced
    – Tawny port (subbed in for Armagnac)
    – 1 inch sprig fresh Rosemary (sub for saffron)
    – 1/2 dried California bay laurel leaf
    – Olive oil or bacon fat

    Over medium-high heat, dry sautée/sear porcini slices. Toss and stir with salt and pepper until the edges start to sear then remove to a plate or bowl.

    Heat bacon fat or olive oil in pan then throw in onion. When about halfway cooked, add celery. Cook until the onions are translucent and the celery soft. Add seared porcini slices and stir well. Splash with tawny port (about a shot’s worth), and add Rosemary sprig and half bay leaf.

    Cook over medium heat about 5 minutes covered, then remove bay leaf and add to food processor or blender to purée until smooth.

  6. Haaaaank! Where have you been all my life??
    Soooo deliciously rich in flavor.
    I even made with 1/2 pound fresh and 1/2 pound frozen chantrelles. Used Madeira since I didn’t have brandy and no bitter taste as others have mentioned. Added a little salt and pepper at the end and paired with a Washington Pinot Gris.
    Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe! Seems daunting at first, but not difficult whatsoever.

  7. i made this soup several times with great results (5 stars) – i made this soup recently with fresh chanterelles and although the soup looked and smelled the same, it was strangely bitter and unedible – very strange – no idea why – i used the correct mushrooms?!?!?!?

    1. Brad: Don’t know what to tell you. There is nothing bitter in this soup at all. If you say you used the correct mushrooms, it’s a mystery. But it really sounds like they were not chanterelles.

    2. Hello: my belief is the Saffron caused your bitterness. Perhaps the variety, freshness, or oxidation, led to this. Research “Saffron bitterness” and you will see discussions about it. I’ve seen a chef press it between two sheets of aluminum before use. Not sure why that would work; obviously, some sort of chemical reaction is at play doing that.

  8. Thanks for this glorious recipe! I found a new chanterelle spot in the woods across from my house, and I’ve been itching for a flavor profile like this recipe offers! I normally make chanterelles into a risotto but as the weather gets colder, soup has been calling to me daily. I’m blessed to live in a house full of adventurous eaters, but this was devoured immediately with no leftovers. Thank you! The saffron addition is inspired.

  9. I foraged Chanterelles for the first time this week and made this recipe tonight. My soup did not turn out as golden and I am not sure why but it was amazing. I have made Greek lemon chicken soup before so was familiar with the finishing process with the egg yolk. As a nutritionist, I think for gluten intolerant people they could avoid the veloute and double up on the egg-cream-broth step and be just as satisfied. Saffron! I finally was able to use the saffron that was brought to me straight from Isreal. I would love advice on the color. I did use a bit of turmeric to help but didn’t want to mess with the flavor.
    Thank you for this recipe!!
    Melanie

  10. Unfathomably good recipe, harvested w. virginia chanterelles the weekend prior for this dish. Hank, absolutely stunned. I am not typically a fan of soups and this was mind altering ( I used the correct mushrooms!) good. You’ve got a reader for life. Thank you for sharing.

  11. Wow, that is a great soup!
    Even our 8 year old loves it. We used paprika instead of saffron for a more Hungarian feel. Thanks!

  12. As with a few other commentators, I had an unpalatable bitter after taste. I used hand-foraged chanterelles and followed the recipe to the letter, but didn’t get the flavor profile I was hoping for. The velvety texture was divine, though, and it was fun to learn a new technique.

    1. Jenn: Only thing I can tell you is that maybe you used something other than a chanterelle? There is absolutely nothing in this soup that can create a bitter flavor.

      1. Could the saffron add a bitter note? I have noticed that with saffron. Could this be a sources based bias? I cannot wait to try this recipe. Just foraged a few pounds of chanterelles today. Thank you!!

      1. I just made it and it turned out amazing even though I messed up and cooked the shallot and mushroom in the butter to be added later. I used an immersion blender to puree the mushroom mixture into the stock base instead of moving it to yet another vessel to blend. It hits the spot.

  13. I have never cooked with chanterelles before, but they were available at my local grocer and looked unique so I bought them not knowing what to do with them. Found this recipe and figured it would stretch my culinary experiences to a new level so why not?! Saffron is quite costly in northern Colorado but it is now in my pantry. The soup is very good, I dont think I was as cautious with the roux at first (it browned a little), and when I too quickly did the liason part. Hey, my kids love it and thats incredible considering it’s a mushroom soup! I will be trying this recipe again, second time will be a little easier…

  14. Thank you for the recipe. Any idea why the soup could end up very bitter at the end? The smell and texture were incredible but the after taste was unpalatable. Want to make it once more but want to find out what to look for to avoid the bitterness.

    1. Tolik: Only thing I can think of is that you did not use chanterelles! Are you absolutely sure they were the correct mushroom?

  15. We enjoyed this last night. As we live in a remote part of Alaska and had no brandy on hand, we used a splash of good bourbon at that step and although we night have preferred brandy, the bourbon was fine – it mostly cooked off anyway. I added a 1/4 cup of Chardonnay to the soup, which was really nice. Had not read carefully enough to note that Chardonnay was your recommended wine pairing, but that’s what we went with and it was, of course, spot on. Excellent soup and very easy to follow instructions. The saffron was wonderful with these mushrooms. Thank you, Hank.
    By the way, we too are into fishing and foraging. Feel free to check out our blog at http://www.cutterlight.com
    Greetings from Newhalen, Alaska