Thursday, September 22, 2011

Chanterelle Stew

Recreating my Grandmother's recipes is a hopeless undertaking.  Somehow they never take quite right when I make them.  What about recreating other people's Grandmothers' recipes that you haven't even tasted?  I realize it's not only hopeless, but completely ridiculous.  But ridiculous culinary undertakings are my specialty, so when I saw chanterelles at Russo's yesterday, I couldn't help thinking of Anna's comment on my mushroom post:

I know you are very busy with videos but when you get a momement maybe you can do a recipe for chanterelle zharkoye (stew) or send me a link to one. My grandmother used to make it but she's long gone and I cannot seem to find anything decent on the web. Or more like I do find stuff, but then I am not 100% if it works and I do not want to chance it with $20 per lb mushrooms.
This comment brought back many delicious memories because my Grandmother made a Beef and Chanterelle stew that was divine, and that I've never attempted.  Here are some problems with chanterelles.  They are at least $20/Lb.  Most of the ones I see in stores are somewhat rotten (I guess not many people buy they and they sit around in the store too long).  Even when I do buy them, they don't taste quite like the chanterelles do in Europe.  Here they are more meaty, not as delicate as the ones I remember from my childhood.  But in spite of all these drawbacks, when you can find them in good condition, their sweetness and apricot perfume are hard to resist.  Yesterday's batch of chanterelles at Russo's looked particularly good and I got some to attempt to turn them into a stew.

Dear Anna, I know that this is not going to recreate your grandmother's dish, but at least I hope you won't feel that you wasted $20 for nothing.

Chanterelle Stew
How to clean chanterelles: Please ignore the "rule" about not washing the mushrooms.  It's absolutely fine to wash them and dry on paper towels.  You need to get all the grit out of them.  Use a soft toothbrush to help you if necessary.

Note on stocks: I used a home-made brown chicken stock, but a beef stock or porcini liquid might be even better.  To make porcini liquid, soak 1oz dry porcini in 3 cups boiling water for at least 30 minutes.  Then drain through a fine mesh sieve lined with a damp paper towel.

Serves 4-6 as the first course or side dish

1 Lb chanterelles, cleaned
1 cup finely diced shallots (about 3 medium)
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp olive oil (sunflower seed oil for a more authentic Russian taste)
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
3 cups home-made stock (see note above)
1/3 cup heavy cream (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cut medium chanterelles into halves, large ones into quarters, and leave really small ones whole.
  2. Set a 12 inch skillet with 1 Tbsp butter and 2 Tbsp olive oil over high heat.  Add chanterelles and a pinch of salt, and cook about 5 minutes stirring once or twice.  Before stirring, check one mushroom to make sure it is brown.  Remove mushrooms to a plate and set aside.  
  3. Turn down the heat to very low (on electric stove, keep the skillet off the heat until the burner cools off).  Add shallots, another tablespoon of butter, and a generous pinch of salt.  Cook stirring often until shallots are translucent and tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the flour, turn up the heat to medium-low and cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes.  
  5. Add the wine and tomato paste and stir constantly until everything is integrated and the mixture comes to a simmer.  
  6. Add the stock and chanterelles.  Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer stirring occasionally.
  7. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 45-60 minutes or until the mushrooms are very tender and the sauce is desired consistency.  If the sauce is too thin to your liking by the time mushrooms are done, uncover, turn up the heat, and cook stirring frequently until it thickens.  
  8. Stir in cream (if using) and bring to a simmer.  Serve.
Serving ideas
Spoon into bowls and top each portion with a poached or sous-vide egg and chives.
Serve as a side dish to roast chicken, scallops, halibut, duck, or steak.
Eat as is with plenty of good bread for dunking into the sauce.


Alla said...

.... or eat with a simple boiled potatoes! (not to mention fried ones)

Sharron said...

This makes my mouth water just looking at the pictures. I have been trying to make several of my Grandma's recipes for years. Most specifically, her pound cake. No matter how many recipes I try, they never quite meet the mark. I've decided it's the pan that makes the difference. Or, perhaps, other things were different then that we do not even know about?

To my credit (and complete delight) I have found one that is so close that I now make it for all the family. It is not, however her recipe (which I have-tho it never turns out like hers). No matter how hard I try - or how many recipes I try, they just never have that buttery crispy crust on top. I've been thinking about it, and decided that her oven was much hotter than mine-never bothered her!- and, so the cake turned out differently.

Oh, Nannie, wish you were here and I could talk with you about recipes!

Ah, well, it's a new era-we have to just go with what we have---

Thanks for your blog-I love it!

Anna said...

I love you for this. I have been waiting for this recipe my entire life. My grandmother used to make it. The other day I was at Russo's and I filled a bag with chantereles thinking I could just maybe figure it out and then left the mushrooms where they were. I have not even read the recipe but I am so excited.

Anna said...

I guess I should have read the post first. When I saw it I thought you read my mind but it turns out you read my comment:-) Thank you very much!!!

Blogessa1 said...

I've been waiting for these mushrooms, too. Only I cook it much easier. Brown chicken pieces with onion in the pan, add some water and move to a dutch oven. Start cooking the chicken.
While stewing the chicken, clean up and slice the potatoes (if you have young ones, even better. Don't use red potato). Now, clean, then fry in a pan on a med. flame chantrelles with onion, make sure they are not getting dry. Salt it a little. Now, add the potatoes and some more water to the chicken. Also add a few table spoons of sour cream. Mix all, cook approx. 5 min, then add fried mushrooms. Continue cooking until ready. Adjust salt to taste.
Tip for you: Russian stores sell good frozen chantrelles and ceps (porcini).

Michelle Winter said...

Where's the beef? How and when would I add it?

Helen said...

there is no beef in my version.

Unknown said...

I got dry chanterelle mushrooms. Can I cook a stew with them?

Galina Lampert

Helen said...

I've never tried using dry chanterelles for this. I don't think the texture will be quite right, but you can certainly try it.