Thursday, October 27, 2016

Wild Chanterelles Mean Great Meals This Winter

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I follow a few foragers on social media, people like Hank Shaw, Langdon Cook and Monica Wilde. I also have friends who forage professionally, like Jack Czarnecki and his sons Chris and Stefan, of the mushroom-centric Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon. Then there are the myriad chefs, cooks and other folks I know who pull on their wellies and get out in inclement weather to hunt—not pick—our wild edibles.

So when I start seeing photos of wild-foraged chanterelles circulating around the ether, it gets my heart pining to head out into the woods myself with a basket and high hopes. I actually did get to do some foraging this last weekend at Fort Stevens State Park near Astoria on the Oregon coast, but it's more well known for its porcini mushrooms, or boletus edulis, than chanterelles, due to the mix of trees planted on its former sand dunes.

Not that I was complaining about the three pounds of boletes we found there, not at all. (I wouldn't want to tick off the mushroom gods, after all.)

Luckily for Portland folk there are plenty of wild chanterelles available at local farmers' markets and stores—some even have special sale prices—so I've been able to stock up on those chanterelles in case I don't get out in the forest soon enough to catch them at their peak. An hour of roasting in the oven at 400°, draining off the juices a couple of times for the deliriously delicious mushroom stock that'll get used in risottos and chowders, and then popping the roasted mushrooms into zip-lock freezer bags. Then I'll have plenty of braises, soups and other delights to look forward to this winter.

So far we've had chanterelle quesadillas (thanks Kim Severson), a stunning mushroom chowder and last night a coq au vin with roasted yams that blew away any other chicken dish we've had lately. Fast, dead simple and so delicious, it was lucky that there were any leftovers for Dave to take to work for lunch today. Seriously, this is a company-worthy dinner, and would be more than adequate using regular mushrooms. But to send your guests into the stratosphere, invest in a pound of the wild things. You won't regret it.

Coq au Vin with Chanterelles and Roasted Garnet Yams

For the chicken:
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 lbs. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (approx. 10)
1 onion, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. chanterelles or other mushrooms, roughly chopped or 1 cup pre-roasted mushrooms
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. dried basil
1 c. dry white wine
Salt to taste

For the yams:
4 medium-sized garnet yams

Preheat oven to 375°. Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Cut yams in quarters. When water boils put yams in boiling water, let it return to a boil and cook for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to baking sheet, skin side down. Place in oven and roast for approx. 45 min. or until tender. Turn off oven until chicken is done and serve alongside.

While yams are baking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat and add oil. Heat until oil shimmers, then brown the thighs on both sides in batches, removing to a plate as they're browned. When thighs are browned, add onions to the fat in the pan and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and chanterelles and sauté until tender. Add herbs and stir in, then pour in wine. Put chicken thighs into the pan with the vegetables and wine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer 45 minutes. Add salt to taste. Serve.


Shari Sirkin said...

I love the idea of frozen roasted chantrelles. How do you prep them for roasting - like, do you toss them in oil first? And at what temp for how long? Thanks!

Kathleen Bauer said...

I like to keep it super simple, Shari…I just tear the bigger mushrooms into pieces that will be easy to work with and generally leave the smaller mushrooms intact. Then I put them in a roasting pan (see photo) and pop them into a 400-degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour. I like to pour off the juice about halfway through roasting and save it for stock. Works great!