Beautiful chanterelles are one of the most plentiful and delicious wild foods in our area. When they are in season, we add these delicious mushrooms to just about every dish possible: quiche, omelets, baked chicken, pasta, pizza, soup, risotto, roast, stuffing, and charcuterie platters. We eat a ton of these every Summer, but sometimes we can’t eat them fast enough. Then, we have pounds of chanterelles to save. Making stock is one of the best ways to enjoy their unique flavor year round.
I’m sure there may be some readers that will question whether or not this would technically be “stock” or “broth.” I was and still am uncertain. There seem to be mixed opinions from many “experts” on what defines a cooking broth versus cooking stock. Some people believe stock is made from bones and if it doesn’t contain bones, it is a broth. I choose to disagree with those people. Others define “stock” as a cooking liquid that has complex layered flavors and can be enjoyed simply as is, and “broth” as a simple liquid that is used as a basic ingredient. I have decided that according to this definition, this recipe is for is a “stock.” The flavors are rich and layered very much like a great bone stock. If you wanted a robust clear soup, you could drink this straight from the jar. So, stock it is.
This recipe calls for 7 pounds of chanterelles, and it can very easily be doubled. If you are a mushroom hunter in peak season, you might have this many mushrooms piled up in your kitchen. If your only source of chanterelles is your local farmers market or high-end grocery store, this recipe might break the bank. I recently spotted a box of perfect little chanterelles for sale by Foraged and Found Edibles at a Seattle market for $20 per pound (a fair price). But, that would put this stock at around $10.00 per pint to make. If I were down to my last jar and wanting to make a fine risotto? I might pay that much. But, my pockets aren’t deep enough for canning such high-priced ingredients. Instead, I will fight the ticks, rattlesnakes, and heat strokes to score free fungus for our stockpot.
I did not have a moment of culinary genius when I decided to make this fabulous canned good for the first time. Instead, it was created by chance as a way to salvage a giant pile of otherwise useless chanterelles. One afternoon, several years ago, we picked 15 pounds of chanterelles in South Alabama. Part of this haul was picked in a sandy creek bottom. When we had spent hours cleaning our beautiful forest gold and finally fried up a batch, we quickly realized that they were still too gritty to use for our intended purpose (selling to local restaurants as we did back when we actually had spare time). One sandy chanty is like having 1 rotten apple in a barrel. It ruins the whole batch. Oh, the frustration! We did not want all of the time picking and cleaning to be a waste. So, in the stock pot they went. The result was amazing delicious flavors being added to our favorite foods for months. Now we are happy to pick giant piles of less than pristine chanterelles because we know they will be transformed into something worthwhile and enjoyed all year long.
Unlike some methods of preservation, this method really does capture the essence of chanterelles. Their richness, light earthiness, and slightly fruity flavors are all present, even after canning.
This recipe could also work well with bumper crops of other mushrooms. If you are not a mushroom hunter, but find a great deal on store-bought mushrooms you could try them too. But, you would end up with a much different stock. Chanterelles have such an interesting and complex flavor profile, nothing else could really compare to this golden goodness.
Use this in any recipe that calls for cooking stock; your sauces will be richer, and your soups will be impressive. You can also enjoy drinking this warming rich liquid on cold winter days. In addition to being absolutely delicious, this stuff is probably packed with more nutrients and powerful vitamins than any cooking stock you can purchase. Chanterelles have high levels of Potassium, Vitamin D, Vitamin C, and Niacin. I do not know the level of these ingredients after being processed in this manner. (This is not a food science blog. I’m not that smart.) However, I can tell you that sipping on this stock is incredibly satisfying and that it is probably a true “super food.”
- 7 lbs chanterelles
- 2 celery stalks
- 1 small sweet onion with skin on
- 4 green onions
- 8 quarts of water
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
Yields 12-15 pints
- Clean chanterelles. One of the easiest ways to remove dirt and debris from chanterelles is to use a stiff bristled paint brush. Normally when I am cooking or preserving mushrooms I am very thorough with the cleaning process, for this recipe, not at all. I roughly clean them and forget about any missed grit because it will all end up in the bottom of the pot or filtered out.
- Preheat oven to 375°F
- Quarter the onion and cut celery into large pieces.
- Lightly coat all vegetables and mushrooms in olive oil.
- Roast the vegetables and mushrooms in small batches on metal sheet pans at 375°F for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size and moisture content of the mushrooms). It took 3 rounds of 2 sheet pans to get these 7lbs roasted. They should ideally roast until the edges have started to brown and caramelize.
- Put roasted vegetables, water, soy sauce and seasonings in a large stock pot. Simmer on low heat for 2-3 hours. Do not let the stock pot come to a boil.
- Turn off heat and allow the stock too cool and settle for several minutes before straining. Do not stir at this point, you want all of the sand and solids to settle to the bottom of the pot.
- Strain stock. I used a flour sack towels inside a colander for straining the stock. You could also use cheesecloth, but the finished stock would probably not be as clear. Do not pour the liquid directly from the pot into the strainer, instead, ladle it out of the pot into the strainer. When you get close to the bottom of the pot, stop. The liquid, sand and debris left in the very bottom get tossed out with the mushrooms and vegetables. This makes great chicken treats or compost material.
- Taste the stock and salt as desired but do not over salt. Cooking stock should add flavor but not saltiness to your dishes. Bring it back up to a very low simmer. Once again, do not boil. You can continue to simmer the stock and reduce it if you wish for stronger richer flavors. But, what you should have at this point is richer and more delicious than any readily available store-bought cooking stock.
- You could freeze this or can in a pressure canner using the following instructions.
This is not a recipe approved by the National Center for Home Food Preservation. There are currently no mushroom stock recipes listed in the approved canning recipes on their site. If you are scared of pressure canning, scared of the canning police, or feel the need to have official approval from a government agency, freeze your stock. I’m pretty sure the National Center for Home Food Preservation is never going to post anything about canning wild mushrooms stock. They actually advise against canning wild mushrooms. I am not telling anyone that this is a safe method for preserving this delicious stock. This remainder of this post is for entertainment purposes only. But, If you are curious, these are the steps that we use in our home to process our vegetable or mushroom stock.
- Sterilize 12-15 pint sized jars. The amount of finished stock varies depending on the amount of liquid evaporated during cooking and how much is left in the bottom of the pot. When the chanterelles are sandy, I leave plenty in the pot.
- Clean jar rims and ladle hot stock into hot sterilized jars leaving 1″head space.
- Process at 11lbs pressure for 30 minutes. Additional processing time may be needed at higher altitudes.
- Allow the pressure canner to cool down gradually. Do not release the steam or cover with a cool towel.
- After jars have cooled, check all lids and label.
Enjoy every last drop! If I had time to go pick 15-20 more pounds of chanterelles this week, I would be canning a couple more batches of this super stock.