Luscious Chanterelle and Corn Chowder
In 1983, during a delivery of my chanterelles to Patty Unterman at Hayes Street Grill in San Francisco, I mentioned that “It’s too bad that chanterelles and corn are nearly the same color, because they go so well together.” Patty loved that idea, and by the following week, chanterelle-crowned polenta cakes were already a favorite on her menu. We now take this pairing of chanterelles and corn for granted; this wonderful flavor duo is a completely American contribution to world cuisine. Corn-wary Europeans never saw this coming. Chanterelles and corn having a good swim together in Sarah’s great chowder is another riff on this fine duo.
Have all the ingredients ready before starting as the soup comes together quickly once you begin.
Makes 6 Cups
- 2 ounces smoked bacon (about 2 strips), cut into ¼-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ½ cup finely diced yellow onion
- 1 medium celery stalk, finely diced
- 1 large garlic clove, finely minced
- ¾ pound cleaned chanterelles, cut into ½-inch dice
- 1 cup fresh yellow or white corn kernels (from 2 ears of corn)
- 1 large Yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into ½-inch dice
- 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small bay leaf
- 1 quart Traditional Mushroom Stock
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
- Place the bacon in a large stockpot over medium heat. Cook until just starting to brown, 3 to 4 minutes, then add the butter. When the butter has melted, stir in the onion, celery, and garlic.
- Cook until tender and translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the chanterelles and cook for 3 to 4 more minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened and tender. Stir in the corn and potatoes and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until they begin to soften.
- Sprinkle the flour evenly over the vegetables in the pot and stir to coat them with the flour. Add the thyme, salt, pepper and bay leaf. Add the mushroom stock, stirring continuously to prevent lumps from forming. Bring the soup to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the bay leaf. Sir in the cream and lemon juice. Taste for seasoning, adding more lemon juice and/or salt as needed.
Substitutions and Variations
Russet or new potatoes can be substituted for the Yukon Golds.
Frozen corn can be substituted for the fresh.
Canned chicken broth can be substituted for the mushroom stock. Use less salt, taste and adjust the seasoning at the end.