Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chanterelle & Hedgehog Soup


No, since you asked, this soup does not contain actual hedgehogs - just mushrooms, potatoes, and a little fatty pork (if you wish).

Yellowfoot mushrooms
When I saw that Fresh Direct now has a much wider variety of mushrooms, not to mention on sale for $6 each, I picked up some packs of Chanterelles, Yellowfoots and Hedgehogs. The Chanterelles are not strangers to me, but I've never cooked with the other two. Yellowfoot are sort of like a Chanterelle on top, with a hollow and skinny yellow stem. The Hedgehogs are aptly named for having bumpy spikes under the caps instead of gills. Bumpy foods are funny to me. Fungus amuses me. Good times.

Hedgehog mushrooms
My favorite way to cook with wild mushrooms is to make simple soup. That way you can taste each individual mushroom and enjoy the different textures in each bite. Since I hadn't had two of these mushrooms before, I wanted to try them this way first. I knew they would be find together, no matter the exact flavors, because they are all related in the gilled-cap family.

As mentioned earlier, I do like to use salt pork in this soup. It's a mild and clear soup, so you definitely need a fat element. You can use butter for the vegetarian version. I actually made two pots at once - a veg version and a pork version, for my husband and I. The pork version is addictive, but the butter version is just fine as well, because the earthy mushrooms give the broth lots of flavor.

If you're using mushrooms in soup, it's fine to rinse them despite popular instruction. They're going to get wet soon enough, and gilled mushrooms collect so much dirt when they grow wild in the forest that they are difficult to wipe clean.
The Chanterelles were sweet and meaty, although it's not really their season, so they do tend to be bland this time of year. The Yellowfoot were light and delicate, almost disappearing into the mix. The Hedgehogs were pretty cool - they keep a pretty nice firm texture, and taste very similar to the Chanterelles.

Chanterelle & Hedgehog Soup
6oz Chanterelle mushrooms
6oz Yellowfoot mushrooms
6oz Hedgehog mushrooms
1 C yellow or white onion, diced
3oz Salt pork, diced (or substitute 3T butter)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced
6-8 C water
To taste: Kosher salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder

1. Clean the mushrooms thoroughly by swishing in water and rubbing off the dirt and pine needles. Lay them on paper towels. Cut any dirty ends off stems and discard. Cut any long stems off the caps and slice them into rounds. Slice across or tear apart the caps into manageable pieces.

2. In a soup pot over medium heat, add the salt pork or butter. Cook pork, stirring occasionally for about 5-8 minutes until it becomes opaque. 

3. Lower heat to medium-low and add onions to the pork or melted butter. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.

4. Add potatoes, mushrooms and then water to cover everything in the pot by about an inch. Simmer for 40 minutes - 1 hour. 

5. Add 1 Tablespoon of salt, stir, and taste. Season with more salt as needed, plenty of pepper and a few sprinkles of garlic and onion powders. 

Serve simply alone, or with bread. Keep in mind, the flavor will get stronger when stored overnight - it's usually best the 2nd day.


Misty will only stir for the pork version of the soup. She's never had pork, but her dog-sense tells her to go check it out the minute it hits the pan. Otherwise, she's happy to just stay all curled up.



2 comments:

Kate said...

This soup loos so good))))) It just made me want to cook some write now)))
Looking forward to more tasty recipes!

Deena Mehta said...

Thanks for the compliments!

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