Summer is coming to a close, and with the temperatures dropping down we are more likely to think of a bowl of warm soup than a salad. Our gardens still provide enough fresh ingredients for that nourishing bowl, and there are many more to be found in our forests.
With its damp, foggy mornings and still enough warmth throughout the day, September is an ideal month for mushrooms. This year has been extremely good for chanterelles or kuriatka, as we call them in Slovak. My husband brought plenty of them from his last forage, so I pickled them again and also cooked a simple, but wholesome soup.
I have always wondered why we call these golden funnel-shaped mushrooms kuriatka (chickens). Perhaps it is their colour. They are said to release their best flavours and aromas when cooked, and I can definitely confirm that. I was surprised to read that chanterelles used to be served to nobility back in the 18th century, and are now priced high in gourmet restaurants around the world. What wealth do we have in our forests, at no cost at all!
Autumn Soup with Wild Chanterelles
- 400 g chanterelle mushrooms (kuriatka)
- 4 medium-size potatoes
- 1 large zucchini, grated
- 3 carrots, grated
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 tablespoons oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- a pinch of ground nutmeg
- about 2 litres water
- Remove the dirt or any forest debris from the chanterelles with a soft brush or your fingers. If necessary, give the mushrooms a quick rinse under cold running water. Place them on a paper towel or a dishcloth and let dry off.
- Peel, wash and dice the potatoes. Peel, wash and grate the carrots. Trim off the rough ends of the mushroom stems and slice the caps if they are too big. Wash and grate the zucchini.
- Peel and chop the onion. Pour the oil in a cooking pot and warm over medium heat. Add the onion and brown a little, stirring now and then. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Stir and cook until the mushrooms release the liquid and start to soften. Pour in the water and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the potatoes to the mushrooms and season with salt and black pepper. Cook together for about 10 minutes, then add the grated vegetables and the ground nutmeg. Continue cooking until all is of the desired tenderness. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.