Chanterelle Harvest Soup

I must admit, the recipe that I am presenting to y’all is one I worked hours in the kitchen creating and I’m rather proud of it. This soup recipe is absolutely perfect for the few cool fall days that we are actually blessed with here in the South. The chanterelle has a mild pepper taste with hints of earth notes, black pepper, apricot, and butter, making it a fantastic mushroom choice for this dish. Combined with the sweet nutty flavor of the butternut squash and the smokiness of the bacon, the chanterelle mushrooms bring warmth and comfort without a doubt. Nothing screams fall more than this flavorful soup.

Ingredients

1 lb chanterelle mushrooms
1 small butternut squash (peeled and cut into chunks)
¼ cup heavy cream (a little extra to drizzle on top)
4 cups vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
1 yellow pepper (diced)
1 lb bacon (diced)
1 sweet onion (diced)
2 cups fresh baby spinach (roughly chopped)
1 stick unsalted butter (8 tablespoons)
5 cloves whole garlic
2 bay leaves
Pinch of nutmeg
Flakey salt
White pepper 

Directions 

1. In a hot skillet on medium high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove bacon from the grease, set aside.
2. In the same skillet on medium heat, add around ¼ cup of your reserved bacon grease then the onions, peppers, and garlic. Stir frequently making sure not to burn your ingredients.
3. 5 minutes into sautéing your onions, peppers, and garlic, add 2 tablespoons of butter and your mushrooms. Sauté until the onions are translucent.
4. Remove ingredients from the pan and set aside.
5. In your skillet, add 3 tablespoons of butter and your squash. Sauté for 4 to 5 minutes or until the squash is slightly soft.
6. In a large pot, add 3 tablespoons of butter, broth, bay leaves, a pinch of nutmeg, and the ingredients you have previously sauteed. Stir and bring to a boil. Once boiling, drop the temperature to medium heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the squash is fully tender.
7. Remove the pot from the heat and discard the bay leaves.
8. Add ¼ cup of heavy cream and blend with a hand blender until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
9. Delicately stir in bacon and spinach.
10. Serve.

Tips and Tricks

• Top your soup with a few whole sauteed mushrooms, a little pinch of nutmeg, and a drizzle of heavy cream to amplify the presentation.
• Save your leftover bacon grease and thank me later. You can store it in a mason jar on your counter.
• Homemade vegetable broth makes for the best soup base for this dish. You can substitute for chicken broth if needed as well.
• Serve with a warm loaf of fresh bread or in a bread bowl.
• Omitting the bacon will make this a great dish for your vegetarian friends and family.

 Chelsea Gieselmann is a mom, photographer, columnist, food blogger, and home-cook. Cooking has been a passion of hers since she was old enough to cut out biscuits with the mouth of a mason jar. Her great-grandmother taught her the basics and she is ever so grateful to have been able to learn from her. Since then, she has honed in her craft a great deal and continues to.  Instagram: @Southrngritskitchen

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