Chantrelle’s Thanksgiving Day

We head up to Mendocino every Thanksgiving. We’ve been going up for about 10 years. The purpose of the trip is to crawl through the woods looking for fungus. Some years it’s quite successful. Other years, not so much.

This year we were a bit late for the porcinis. we found a few to grill, and a few to dry, but the real star of this trip was the chanterelle. Day one brought us a basket full along with a couple of coccoras (a mushroom that still makes me nervous to eat!).

I selected a handful of the chanterelles, cleaned and prepped them for wild mushroom stuffing. The recipe I used is based on this Bon Appétit recipe but I’ve modified it a bit. Firstly, it called for 1 pound of shiitake’s and 1 pound of button mushrooms… I had pounds of chanterelles in my fridge! I used about 2-3 pounds of the chanterelles. I put them in the skillet with a stick of butter. I let them cook for quite a while because they had a lot of moisture. I cooked almost all of that moisture away.

Next I added the chopped leek and garlic and let that cook through for about five minutes.

Once the leek was softened I added 2 cups of good white wine, a huge handful of rehydrated porcinis (from last year’s hunt) and about 1/4 cup of chopped thyme and marjoram from the garden. At this point I don’t think there’s much I cook without thyme and marjoram in it! The plants are out of control!!

Once most of the wine had cooked off, I stirred the whole mixture into a 1lb package of bread cubes (unseasoned). I added the liquid I used to rehydrate the porcinis and then some extra chicken stock because it still seemed a little dry. I put the whole bit into a baking dish and baked it at 350° for about 45 minutes until the edges had some yummy crunchy bits.

Meanwhile, I said we found some porcini right? We can’t forget about those! We sliced up the stalk, brushed it with some olive oil and grilled it on the Weber with mesquite wood.

Meanwhile meanwhile… I roasted a whole chicken in lieu of a turkey since 1: I’m allergic to turkey and 2: there were only three of us. It’s a foolproof excellent way to roast a chicken by the way. Take six pats of butter and wiggle them under the skin of the chicken breasts (three for each side). Then take chopped herbs… guess what I used? Yes, marjoram and thyme! Work those under the skin with the butter. Sprinkle the entire bird with salt and rub the entire outside with olive oil. Roasted at 400° for about 40 minutes until the internal temperature is 160°. I love my digital thermometer for this. I just put it in the chicken when I first put it in the oven, and set the alarm to beep when it hits 155° so I know I have a couple minutes left to finish the rest of the dinner prep.

It was a very successful Thanksgiving endeavor. The final meal: roast chicken, wild mushroom stuffing, grilled porcini, Caesar salad and cranberry relish.