November 01, 2016

German Cream of Chanterelle Soup: Pfifferlingrahmsuppe

Fall is Pfifferling (chanterelle) season. They're all over the farmer's markets in glorious colour and ridiculously low prices. They're also all over the menus about town -- amongst them, pasta with chanterelles, spätzle with chanterelles, salads with warm chanterelle dressing, chanterelle toasts, schnitzel with chanterelles (a slightly fancier version of the old standby Jägerschnitzel) and of course, chanterelle soup.

I was inspired to make this one after having a really excellent version at Zum Goldstein, here in Mainz. I fully expect to eat a lot more chanterelles before the season winds down.

I've now made two versions of this soup - the first one partially thickened with potato, which is a common recipe in these parts, and the second thickened with a bit of flour and use of a stick-blender. The first one was too potato-forward for my taste - it obscured the delicate mushroom fragrance and flavour. The second one was beautiful. Nothing but rich, creamy mushroom goodness.

German Cream of Chanterelle Soup: Pfifferlingrahmsuppe

Serves 3 - 4

300 grams fresh chanterelles, cleaned and chopped
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
2 tablespoons brandy
2 tablespoons unbleached flour
300 - 400 mL vegetable broth, at room temperature
300 mL whole milk
100 mL whipping cream

Clean the mushrooms really thoroughly, and slice a few for garnish, chopping the rest roughly.

Melt half the butter in a medium-large soup pot and fry up a few of the nicest looking slices of mushroom until dark golden. Put aside to use as garnish. Add the rest of the butter, melt it, then add the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until translucent, then add the chopped mushrooms, fresh thyme sprigs, celery salt, and white pepper. Cook and stir until the liquid boils off and the mushrooms are tender but starting to catch on the bottom of the pot. Deglaze with the brandy, and scrape the bottom if necessary. Add the milk and stir, and bring the temperature up to a bare simmer.

Shake together the water (cold, or at room temperature) with the flour until it makes a smooth slurry. Add the slurry to the soup, stirring it through and continuing to stir as it heats and thickens. Continue to cook the soup on the lowest setting, with the soup bubbling a tiny bit, stirring frequently for about 20 minutes or until the taste of raw flour is gone, and the soup is thick. Add the cream, and stir through again.

Remove from the heat, remove the now-naked thyme stems, and puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth and golden. Taste and adjust for salt if necessary. If the soup is too thick, thin it with a little extra water or vegetable broth. Ladle the soup into bowls and top with the reserved fried mushrooms and an extra bit of fresh thyme, if you have it. I placed a tiny raft of toast under the fried mushrooms to keep from them sinking into the soup, but it's of course not entirely necessary.

For those who aren't vegetarians, I can also recommend the local way of serving this - instead of fried mushrooms, sear small cubes of blood sausage and use that as a garnish. The salty, meaty, soft texture of the sausage goes perfectly with the soup.

Looking for more chanterelle recipes? Check out my post from last year for Chanterelle Risotto.

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