Hardcore Thanksgiving 2016

It’s our annual tradition (17 years running) to head to the woods for Thanksgiving weekend and forage for something edible and tasty…preferably porcini but other edibles will do!

We didn’t find a ton this year but enough for a nice, large, dinner when we got home.

Since this drive takes us north of the Golden Gate Bridge….HANA FOR LUNCH!!! It’s the best. Then we trekked up to Salt Point where we found some porcini (mostly dryers) and stayed the night. Then on to Mendocino where we’ve got our spots. Found porcini, agaricus augustus (the prince), and chanterelles…oh, and candy caps! First time I’ve found those knowingly. A few years ago we found some but weren’t 100% sure on the ID so we left them (dumb). Our gloves smelled like maple syrup for years! That’s a positive ID for sure!

It was just the 3 of us for Thanksgiving dinner so I made duck breast on our sad little rental cabin stove. I always have to disassemble the smoke detector, it goes off for EVERYTHING. You can imagine what duck would do to it. For the first time since college I made packaged stuffing. I got a good, organic, brand without anything weird in it. I added pancetta, butter and homemade chicken stock and it was good. It’s one of those things, like airport or mall chow mein, that I love no matter what. I actually bought a second package of it to make just because. I don’t know why stuffing is a Thanksgiving-only dish. That’s just wrong.

When we got home I made mushroom-barley-lentil soup with last year’s dried porcini and this year’s chanterelles. We grilled up the rest of the mushrooms and had a fabulous foraged feast.

Mushroom Barley Lentil Soup

1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup cubed pancetta
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup pearl barley
8 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup rehydrated porcini
1/2 cup french green lentils
As many chanterelles as you can stand

Sautee the pancetta and onion in olive oil on medium-low with the lid on the pot until the onion is transluscent. Remove lid and turn up to medium until things get a little brown.

Add garlic, barley, porcini, and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, put lid on and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile in another pan, dry saute the chantrelles to get the water out. I then add a little oil and brown them up a bit.

Add lentils and simmer another 20 minutes.

When lentils and barley are cooked, stir in the sauteed chanterelles.

(I also grilled some of the chantrelles and put them on top of the soup!)