The Dependable Chanterelle

Many mycophagists consider the bolete, the chanterelle, and the morel as the triumvirate of edible mushrooms. While boletes are limited in the Bay Area and morels are even rarer, in a good year chanterelles are abundant. This helps make the chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) a very popular mushroom for local pothunters.

Chanterelles have a subtle flavor and an excellent texture which are at their best when young firm specimens are cooked slowly in moist heat. The flavor of the chanterelle is accentuated by the addition of freshly grated nutmeg, which I add to many chanterelle recipes.

Chicken Sauté with Chanterelles

Brown the chicken breasts in the butter and olive oil. Remove from the pan. Sauté the onion, garlic and chanterelles until the onion is translucent, but has not begun to brown. Deglaze the pan with the wine or bourbon. Add the stock, nutmeg, and reserved chicken. Cover the pan and cook over medium low heat about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is done, but not overcooked. Remove the chicken to a heated platter, turn the heat to high, and reduce the sauce to about 1/4 to 1/2 cup. Add salt to taste. Then add the cream, bring to a boil, and reduce the sauce to the desired consistency. Pour the chanterelle sauce over the chicken and serve.

Variations: With the sauce reduced lightly, I like to serve this dish with a good pasta. It is wonderful served with fresh fettucine made with lots of black pepper and accompanied by a Sauvignon Blanc. When I use bourbon instead of white wine, I reduce the sauce until it is very thick and serve the dish with rice or a mixture of rice and wild rice, accompanied by a medium bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.