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Market Matters- The Enchanting Chant of White Bean & Chanterelle Soup

Chanterelle Soup: I am so happy to still be a contender in the #PFB2010 Project Food Blog contest. I am having a blast, but one thing I have missed is my weekly Market Matters posts from the Hollywood Farmers Market. But this week the slave drivers over at FoodBuzz are giving us a break. The competitors have a rare Sunday off and I am using that time to get myself back to my market.

It’s the perfect weekend for it too! There is a certain sound in the air. Have you heard it? It’s a happy sound. I think you know what it is. It is the change of seasons. There has been a subtle shift in the atmosphere here in Los Angeles. A slight changing of the angle of light and an indefinable quality ringing through the air.

People unfamiliar with Southern California always (unmelodiously) ask… “Oh, but don’t you miss the seasons?”

Well if by seasons you mean driving around in the snow, sleet, and hail whether you want to or not, then my answer is: “No, heck no!”

But if by seasons you mean that certain melodic changing of the emotional guard that co-ordinates with a change in pitch of the weather, then I say “No, heck no. We have beautiful seasons here!”

 

chanterelle mushroomsBecause there are wonderful changes associated with the seasons, even in Los Angeles. Sure they are not drastic extremes, but I don’t really feel I need that kind of drama in my life anyway!

In Los Angeles, despite the glorious sunshine, the autumn brings us noticeably cooler temperatures, especially at night. My favorite part of the change from summer to autumn in LA is the slight change in the light. The sun sits at a lower angle on the horizon so everybody and everything looks just a bit prettier. There is also that song in the air that I mentioned earlier. It’s quite a catchy little tune.

There are changes at the Hollywood Farmers Market too. Peaches and other summer crops are giving way to apples and pears. There are certain late season crops like tomatoes that are especially great in very early fall.

Chanterelle Soup

This is also that peak window of opportunity for chanterelle mushrooms. You can hear their golden voices about this time every year, and today was no exception.

I could hear them singing along with the chill in the air this morning as I walked down the hill to the market. I did not know when I got out of bed this morning that this would be their time to shine. But when I heard their happy little harmony I knew we were poised for a special dinner tonight. There is no chanteuse with a chant quite like a chanterelle!

So for this weeks Market Matters, I decided to join the chorus of happy voices celebrating the changing of the season. Sing along with me, I know you want to!

white bean and chanterelles soupWhite Bean & Chanterelle Soup with Sage

serves 6–8  CLICK here for a printable recipe

  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 8 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1⁄2 t whole black peppercorns
  • 1 c onion, cut into 1/4‑inch dice
  • 2 leeks, white and pale green parts, chopped, washed and dried
  • 1 fennel bulb, cored & cut into 1/4‑inch dice
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into 1/4‑inch dice
  • 2 clv garlic peeled and chopped
  • 2 (14 1/2 ounces) great northern white beans, drained and washed
  • 6 c chicken or vegetable stock
  • 4 T unsalted butter
  • 1⁄2 lb chanterelle mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 T sage leaves cut crosswise into very thin strips (chiffonade)
  • 2 t salt, plus more as needed
  • 1⁄2 t ground white pepper
  • 6 T dry white wine
  • 2 T heavy cream (optional)
  • truffle oil to taste (optional)

Using cheesecloth, create a sachet with the thyme, parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns.

In a large heavy-bottomed soup pot set over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion, half of the leeks, the fennel, celery, garlic, and the sachet. Sweat these ingredients, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are well softened, about 8 minutes. Add the beans and stock, bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered until the soup thickens some, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a medium-sized saute pan set over medium heat. Add the sliced chanterelles, the remaining leek, and the sage. Cook stirring often, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with a pinch of salt and white pepper. Raise the heat, add the wine, and cook, stirring often, until the liquid has nearly evaporated. Remove from heat and set aside.

Remove the sachet from the soup. Ladle half the soup into a large bowl, and using an immersion blender puree until smooth. Return to pot. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and a pinch of white pepper. Add the reserved mushroom mixture.

Bring the soup to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook uncovered about 15 minutes. If using cream, add it during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Drizzling each with white truffle oil to taste (if using). Serve immediately.

SERIOUS FUN FOOD

Greg Henry

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