It’s been so long since I used my DSLR camera that it took me two days to find the USB cord to connect it to my computer for these photos. Since I last used the camera, I’ve packed up all my things, moved house, unpacked some of my things, been across the country and back, and put in a lot of hours at my job. I’ve also been falling less and less on my bike, and even competed in a 12-hour bike race last weekend, fighting a nasty case of strep throat to put in many miles on the bike, all the while also fighting just to stand up and stay awake.
Thankfully this weekend, all are healthy in my household, and we’re tucking away pound upon pound of freshly-foraged chanterelle mushrooms. Here in the Northeast, it’s the perfect year for these orangey gems, as the rain has been incessant for most of the summer. Summer? What’s that? I find myself wondering, as week after week cool temps reign, and precipitation cascades over my head and the tops of the trees at work.
Thank goodness for this delicious bounty that the forest provides. Every week it’s something new to admire and enjoy. This week, chanterelles.
If you want to forage for chanterelles, beware of lookalikes, including false chanterelles and jack o’lanterns. The mushrooms you want to pick will have a solid stem, an apricot aroma, and wrinkly false gills. I find that they grow well under forest cover in mossy areas near compacted sites, such as trails and roads. I find them in fir stands, as well as stands with a hardwood component. There are plenty of online resources for learning chanterelle identification, as well as finding recipe inspiration.
To give you a few ideas, since chanterelles have appeared up here, we’ve made a chanterelle + beef stew, a chanterelle omelette, chanterelle, onion + fresh tomato pizza, and what you see here, Chanterelle Duxelles Turnovers.
Duxelles. Have you been so lucky to have enjoyed this before?
Duxelles is perhaps my favorite recipe that my mum has passed along to me. A mushroom spread or paste, depending on what you add to the mixture (cream/no cream), duxelles is an absolute smash hit when spread on crackers, and creates just about the best dinner party appetizer ever. It was one of the first things that my boyfriend and I cooked together nearly three years ago. Awwww. And it is just so delicious, those of you who are mushroom-inclined will love it.
I upped the duxelles a notch here by pairing it with creamy goat cheese, and wrapping it up in phyllo dough parcels. Once baked, these turnovers are crispy, crunchy, juicy, and overflowing with the goodness of wild mushrooms. If you don’t have access to chanterelles, whether foraged in the woods, at the farmer’s market, or the grocery store, use any kind of mushroom for duxelles. Oysters and shiitake work very nicely as well, as do everyday button mushrooms. I feel like when it comes to mushrooms, you can’t go wrong.
Chanterelle Duxelles Turnovers
For the duxelles:
Makes ~2 c.
6 c. chanterelles mushrooms, chopped fine or minced in a food processor
1 stick (8 tbsp) butter
1 large shallot (1/2 c.), finely chopped
5 scallions, finely chopped
Heavy cream, if desired
2 tbsp flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp chives, finely cut
Salt and pepper to taste
This could be called finelychoppedelles rather than duxelles, and it would make sense, no? Make sure to squeeze your mushrooms well before or after chopping, to extract as much juice as possible.
In a large skillet, heat butter over medium heat. Before the foam subsides, stir in the shallots and scallions, and cook until soft. Add mushrooms, and cook for 10-15 minutes. When cooking wild-foraged mushrooms, make sure they are well cooked – any sickness you might feel from eating wild mushrooms is more often due to bacteria on the mushrooms than the mushrooms themselves. In my mum’s words, cook until the mixture is inspissated, and on the point of browning. If inspissated isn’t in your vocabulary, it means thickened or congealed. Depending on how much liquid is left in your mushrooms, though, the chanterelles may not thicken as much as other mushroom varieties might. If you’d like, add a few splashes of heavy cream to work on that inspissation.
Remove from heat, and mix in parsley and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Let cool.
For the turnovers:
1 rolled sheath of phyllo dough, or phyllo cups if you’d prefer, thawed
1 recipe duxelles, above
1 package goat cheese (I used a mild, creamy cheese)
Unroll phyllo dough, and cut into whatever size you’d like to use. You have a few options: you can make rectangular-shaped parcels, as seen here, you can create large triangular turnovers (which I recommend because they are extra stuffed with goodness), or you can make/use phyllo cups and bake in muffin tins.
Using three or four sheets of dough, fill with 1-4 tbsp of filling, depending on the size of the parcel you’re making. Top with 1 tsp goat cheese per tbsp of filling. Wrap up as desired, whether rectangularly or triangularly, and set on a baking stone or other prepared baking sheet. Spray with baking spray to achieve a golden brown crisp once baked. Repeat with remaining filling and sheets of phyllo.
Bake at 350 F for 25-35 minutes, depending on the size of your turnovers. Remove from oven, and let cool slightly before serving.
This non-summer has been passing by much too quickly. Will my tomatoes ripen before we get a frost? Not sure. But I’ve been loving every minute that this season has to offer.
I’ve been overseeing road construction and a large harvesting operation, I’ve walked down sweet and quiet wooded trails, and I’ve done a fair amount of harvesting myself. Summer is beautiful. Bring on an equally lovely fall.