Mushroom lovers are in luck these days. The grocery store stocks more than just typical buttons and portobellos, and you can find dozens of wild-forged mushrooms at the farmers market. (Learn more about the most common types of mushrooms.) Each kind varies in size, texture and flavor, and you can have a lot of fun using them in your favorite mushroom recipes.
While they’re in season, we love using chanterelle mushrooms because of their brilliant color, melty texture and delicate aroma.
What do chanterelles taste like?
The bright golden-brown color and wavy tops of chanterelle mushrooms make them stand out from the outset, but it’s their flavor and texture that makes them so desirable to chefs. These delicate mushrooms have a peppery flavor that some people describe as lightly fruity. The best part about them is the aroma, which is almost apricot-like. As you cook them, they soften and create a melt-in-your-mouth texture.
What time of year do chanterelles grow?
It varies depending on the region. They need a lot of moisture and shade to grow, so you’ll find them the forests after it rains. In the Pacific Northwest, you can discover chanterelles as early as June, although they usually start becoming abundant in July and August. If the weather conditions are right, you can continue to forage as late as December. In the Southeast, they grow from late spring to early fall.
Should chanterelles be refrigerated?
After you clean chanterelles (we’ve found using a toothbrush is the easiest way to get the dirt and grime off), you can cook them straight away or dry them in a dehydrator for later use. If you want to store them, keep them in the refrigerator in a paper—not plastic—bag. Chanterelles store longer than most mushrooms—up to ten days. Or, you can give them a quick saute in butter until they release their moisture and freeze them for up to a year.
How to Cook Chanterelles
This savory pie with mushrooms and leeks is one of our go-to ways to cook up this seasonal mushroom. It makes eight servings.
For the pastry:
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes
- 3-5 tablespoons ice water, as needed
For the filling:
- 12 ounces fresh chanterelle mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1 medium leek (white portion only), halved and sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 large eggs
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- Minced fresh parsley, optional
Step 1: Make the pastry
You can use store-bought pie pastry for a 9-inch pie if you like, but it’s more fun (and fairly easy) to make your own! In a large bowl, combine the flour and salt before cutting in the butter. When the mixture is crumbly, add 3 tablespoons of the water and toss with a fork until a dough forms. Add additional water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough holds together when pressed. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate it for one hour.
Step 2: Prepare the pie plate
When the pastry is ready, preheat the oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 1/8-inch-thick circle. Gently transfer the circle onto a 9-inch pie plate, trimming the crust to 1/2-inch beyond the rim of the plate. Flute the edges and place the crust in the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
Step 3: Clean and trim the mushrooms
You don’t want to wash the mushrooms under running water, but it’s always best to wipe them clean with a damp dish towel. Once they’re clean, trim the stems and quarter each mushroom. If they’re very large or you like smaller bites in your pie, you can slice the mushrooms instead.
Step 4: Make the filling
In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium-high heat. Add the leeks and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, until they’re tender. Remove the leeks from the pan and add the remaining butter. Still cooking over medium-high heat, add the mushrooms and cook for 4 to 6 minutes, until they’re tender and the liquid has evaporated. Remove the pan from heat and add the leeks back to the pan, seasoning the mixture with the salt and pepper. Allow it to cool slightly.
Step 5: Assemble the pie
Remove the pie plate from the refrigerator and sprinkle half of the cheese onto the bottom of the crust. Add the prepared filling and sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Then, in a large bowl, whisk the egg and cream together until they’re well blended. Pour the eggs on top of the cheese and mushroom filling.
Step 6: Bake for 30 to 35 minutes
Bake the pie on a lower oven rack for 30 to 35 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean. Let the pie cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing it into eight servings. Sprinkle the minced fresh parsley on top, if using, just before slicing and serving.
Don’t feel like stuffing chanterelles into a pie? Find more ways to cook with mushrooms.