• Campbell Whitman

Chanterelle Sauce

One of my favorite seasons, (though, I regret to inform you I do have many....) is chanterelle season! These mushrooms have such a delicate flavor and can easily bring a sophisticated addition to any dish, but when they are prepared in a typical French style with some thyme, shallots, cream and butter, my heart skips a beat. Maybe yours will too.

Chanterelle Sauce

170 g jullienned shallots or mild white onions

200 g chanterelles

2 1/2 T butter

2 T extra virgin olive oil

2 T chopped fresh thyme leaves

2-3 T cream

s&p

Tip: leftover juice from resting meat is very welcome in a sauce made for a meat dish. If you are serving it with meat, add it! And add it before the cream and the last 1/2 T of butter. Just make sure to let the juices reduce a little bit or the sauce will become runny and/or separate a bit in the end.


I first rinse the mushrooms in a bowl a couple of times until the water isn't dirty anymore. Some mushrooms are just harder to clean than others. You could try and use a "mushroom brush," but it would take a bit time. And even though I am mostly against cleaning mushrooms with water, when it comes to chanterelles, you don't have much of a choice, use the damn water. After cleaning, lay them on a plate with paper towels or a towel underneath to help absorb the water. I try to leave them out for a couple of hours if I can to let them really air dry as best as possible. Mushrooms are like little sponges and if you leave them in water too long your sauce will be watery....Once dry enough, tear them in pieces with your hands like string cheese. Set them aside.


Cook your thinly julienned shallots in a warmed up, heavy-bottomed pan with a good sealing lid with both 2 T of the butter and all of the olive oil. Once the shallots are sizzling, season with s&p, stir well, cover with a lid and turn it to low. Cook it on low with a lid for about 30 minutes. This will help them not dry out and caramelize the onions slowly without burning. This step is vital to a delicious sauce! Stir it every 5 minutes or so, ALWAYS letting any liquid on the inside of the lid to fall back into the pan. They should be a nice gold brown, The more caramelization, the more flavor. If your lid doesn't seal well, you may need to add a T of water or two to keep it from overcooking/burning.


After, 30 minutes, throw in the torn mushrooms and some more pepper. Turn up the heat to medium. Stir and cover with the lid for about 1 minute. Remove the lid and stir again. Repeat this process until the mushrooms begin to look a little wilted and this time, do not let any liquid from the lid go back into the pan. Let them drip into the sink or a plate/bowl on the side by the stovetop Once wilted, turn up the heat to medium-high and set aside the lid. Once sizzling, throw in the thyme, followed by some salt and the meat juices that were left in the plate where the meat was resting (if using for a meat dish). Cook without the lid. You want to hear this sizzle for a minute, making sure it sizzles but isn't too high that the juices all evaporate. The liquid shouldn't fully disappear, just reduce. Next, add 2 T of the cream, stir well and if you think it could use one more, go ahead (but this isn't a proper cream sauce, its a creamy mushroom sauce-so it shouldn't be too creamy). Then, while making slow circular motions with the pan over the high heat, let it bubble until it thickens up. You can stop the "rotations" and let it bubble harder over the heat if needed, then resume the circular movement again. This only takes a minute or two. The cream should coat the back of spoon. Finally, turn off the heat and add the last bit of butter. Melt it by again, moving the pan in circular motions on the burner until it disappears. Taste for seasonings and serve immediately.


Tip: Once the onions have caramelized this sauce comes together in about 5-7 minutes. You do not want too over cook the mushrooms, they will become too chewy.