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Chanterelle soup is a dish that uses chanterelle mushrooms as a base. Chanterelles are wild fungi popular with mushroom hunters and grow in various regions throughout Europe, North America and parts of Asia and Africa. They vary in color and flavor and are used in many gourmet dishes. Chanterelle soup is usually cream-based, and there are many variations on flavorings and additions to the dish.
Most cooks prefer to cream the mushrooms to make chanterelle soup, resulting in a smooth, flavorful dish. In a basic recipe, the mushrooms are cleaned, sliced and run through a food processor to chop them into fine bits. The pieces are then boiled in stock liquid, either chicken or vegetable, and then strained out, leaving mushroom-flavored liquid. Cream or milk and flour and other seasonings, such as onions or various herbs, are then added to the mixture to create a rich soup. Many prefer to include other vegetables in the stock-boiling process, such as carrots or leeks.
There are many different ways to prepare chanterelle soup, depending upon the diner's preferences. Egg yolks can help to thicken the soup, and adding a bit of saffron gives the soup enhanced flavor and a bright color. Many choose to reserve a few chanterelle caps, sauté them in butter, and then top the soup with them as a garnish. Parsley or other green herbs are often added for color.
Chanterelles are one of the most popular fungi for mushroom hunters. They grow particularly well in the northwestern part of the United States from August through December. The mushrooms are large and yellowish or orange in color and can be identified by their apricot-like smell. They grow on the ground, not on trees, and can often be found in moist, mossy environments, such as under the cover of fallen leaves. Though most cooks use fresh chanterelles, they can also be dried and rehydrated long after chanterelle season has passed.
There are many health benefits to eating mushroom-based dishes such as chanterelle soup. Chanterelles are high in vitamin C, vitamin D, and potassium. Like many fresh vegetables, they are a low-calorie, low-fat food. Different varieties and colors of chanterelles have varying flavors, and golden chanterelles tend to be the most sought-after. If one is new to chanterelle gathering, it is a good idea to go with an experienced mushroom hunter so as not to confuse chanterelles with the jack-o-lantern mushroom, which is non-edible and causes gastrointestinal problems.
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