This Mushroom Soup Recipe Offers More
“More than 12 years ago, a forager arrived at my restaurant with a huge bag of chanterelles still warm from the forest,” says Drew Belline, chef/partner of No. 246 in Decatur, Georgia. “I have been hooked on foraging ever since.”
Belline, who uses foraging as an excuse to get out of the kitchen and into the North Georgia mountains, has found everything from yellow foots, chanterelle cinnabars and hedgehogs to black trumpets, morels and hen of the woods. “All I take with me is a folding mushroom knife that has a brush on the back to remove excess dirt and a wicker backpack so the mushrooms can breathe,” he says.
He also takes a lot of experience into those mountain mushroom patches. Here are Belline’s foraging dos and don’ts, plus a recipe for wild chanterelle mushrooms in Parmesan broth—one of his favorite ways to feature fungi.
Identification Is Crucial “If you are not 100 percent sure about what you’re picking, you can do one of two things: leave it alone or go through identification steps with a mycologist,” Belline says. "When I’m not certain, which is often, I snap a photo of the mushroom and discuss it with someone more experienced than myself. See if there's a local mushroom club you can join."
Respect The Patches "It's very important to respect your mushroom patches," Belline says. "I never over-pick one spot, and if I'm not headed straight to the restaurant with a fresh batch, I won't pick them. We can pick upwards of 60 pounds of mushrooms off some of our spots in north Georgia."
Know Your Seasons "In Georgia, the least productive time of year for foraging is December through January," Belline says. "In mid to late March, the morels start popping once the soil temps reach around 60 degrees and that can last into mid-May. In mid-June, with enough rain, chanterelle season begins and can last until early September if it stays warm. My absolute favorite is maitake season, which starts in mid-October and lasts until the first freeze."
Wild Chanterelle Mushrooms in Parmesan Brodo with Goat Cheese Tortellini Sweet Corn and Tarragon
According to Belline, a flavorful broth is the foundation for this dish, so he suggests starting with chicken broth instead of water.
"And if the thought of hand-rolling tortellini is scary, substitute with some other type of pasta like tagliatelle or a short egg noodle," he says. "You can also skip the pasta making process by purchasing pre-made pasta sheets."
For the broth:
- 3 quarts chicken broth (or water)
- 1 pound mushroom stems and scraps
- 2-3 leftover Parmesan rinds
- 1 large yellow onion, diced large
- 1 carrot, diced large
- 4 celery ribs, diced large
- 1 head of garlic, sliced in half
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 6 springs thyme
- 6 sprigs tarragon
In a stock pot, sweat the carrots, celery, garlic and onions over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Add the mushroom stems and herbs and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. Add your water or stock and Parmesan rind and bring to a simmer for 1.5 hours. Strain and discard the veggies and rind and reduce the liquid by half to intensify the flavor.
For the tortellini:
- 1 pound 00 flour
- ¼ cup water
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 7 egg yolks
In a mixer, combine the salt, water and eggs. Mix on low until combined. Slowly add the flour into a ball forms in the mixer. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes. Wrap with plastic wrap and let it rest for 30 minutes.
For the filling:
- 1 pound of fresh chevre
- 2 egg yolks
- 1 tablespoon of salt
- Zest of 1 lemon
Mix until incorporated. Set aside in the fridge.
Roll out the dough with a pasta machine and cut circles 2 inches in diameter. Fill with a small amount of the filling, brush the edges with water and fold into a half moon. Seal the edges then bring the two points of the half moon around the back until they meet and then press them together. Repeat until filling is gone and refrigerate filled pasta.
To finish the soup:
- 1.5 pounds sweet corn kernels
- 1.5 pounds trimmed and cleaned foraged or store-bought chanterelles
- 6 cloves sliced garlic
- 2 sliced shallots
- 2 ounces of picked tarragon
- 1 lemon
- Kosher salt and pepper taste
- Extra virgin olive oil to finish
In a large sauté pan, roast the mushrooms over medium high heat in extra virgin olive oil. Just before the mushrooms start to brown, add the sweet corn and sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the sliced garlic and shallots and cook for an additional minute. Add the mushroom stock and bring to a simmer. Add the tortellini to the simmering broth and cook until they float, 3-4 minutes. Then add the tarragon and juice of one lemon. Check the seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper, if necessary. Ladle into bowls and give the soup a healthy drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Editor's Note: The content of this article is provided for general informational purposes only. Be cautioned that some wild plants can be poisonous, and poisonous plants sometimes resemble edible plants which often grow side by side. It is the responsibility of the reader, or the reader’s parent or guardian, to correctly identify and use the edible plants described. HGTV does not guarantee the accuracy of the content provided in this article and is not liable for any injury resulting from use of any information provided.