This is a delicious recipe which is very simple and yet is evocative of rustic charms and late autumn evenings. It is a great dish to make for friends after a hard day’s mushroom picking and if you can it is great to eat it outside, so that you really do have that sense of having forested for your own food. It is adequate as a mains dish, but also exceptionally good as a starter in which case it will easily serve 6.
When cooking chanterelles it is important not to overcook them, because they will be tough if you do this. They can also become slightly tough if you fry them too quickly. They are a delicate mushroom and need to be handled as such.
This recipe serves 4.
You will need:
1500 g of chanterelle mushrooms. (Chopped or whole, dependent on taste)
100 g of slightly salted butter
100g (or more if you prefer) smoked bacon
150 g new potatoes
Flat leafed parsley, shredded, not chopped or coriander
4 teaspoons or dessertspoons of crème fraiche
First you should fry the mushrooms in around 25 g of butter. Make sure that you only fry them lightly (the heat should be medium, not hot). Take the pan off the heat and drain the liquid out of the pan. Save the liquid, for later use as a stock (it is particularly good as the basis for a sauce or even a soup, since it imparts a lovely mushroom flavour, without being too strong).
Cut bacon into tiny pieces and for health reasons, remove most of the fat from the bacon, prior to frying it, but leaving on a little gives it an excellent flavour.
Fry the bacon in the rest of the butter for about 5 minutes, or until it is brown. Add in the mushrooms and reduce the heat. Simmer the dish for about 20 minutes.
Cut the new potatoes into quarters, or if they are very small into halves. Once the potatoes are cooked, then drain them well and return them to the pan. Toss slightly to ensure that they are dry and the steam and water has evaporated from the pan. Then add the potatoes to the mushroom pan. Cook for another 5 – 10 minutes, so that the potatoes absorb a little bit of the mushroom flavour.
At this point (and not before) you should season well with salt and pepper. The dish somehow lends itself to being ‘salty’ so be generous with the salt, but remember that people can also add their own at the table. The smoked bacon also has a fairly high salt level. Sprinkle with the shredded parsley and then carefully place a spoonful of the crème fraiche (either a teaspoon or dessertspoon) onto the side of each plate, so that people can use as much or as little as they choose. Serve immediately with a nice crusty wholemeal bread, salted butter and a crisp wine such as a Sauvignon Blanc, Muscadet or a Chablis. Absolutely delicious !
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