I was recently asked to do a product review for O Gourmet, an online food store physically located in Montreal. As their name indicates, they specialize in fine products. They have quite a selection, and their site is also very informative, even offering detailed guides about berries, plants, vinegars, mushrooms, and pâtés. They also offer a variety of local foods, which of course deserves a thumbs up.
Because I mentioned that I love cooking with mushrooms, they offered to send me some dried chanterelle mushroom powder. (By the way, these pictures were taken after I’d used up more than half of the powder for my test recipes – sorry about that.)
Although I’ve cooked with dehydrated mushrooms before, I had never used them in this form. I did some pondering before deciding what kind of dish to incorporate the powder in. Chanterelles aren’t all that easy to find in my neighbourhood (although you can find them in season at open-air markets), so I haven’t had the good fortune of tasting them very often, but I did know they had a fairly delicate flavour (especially when compared to shiitake or porcini), so I wanted something that wouldn’t overwhelm it. In the end, I created two recipes.
The first was a mushroom bread. I’ve been taking up bread baking more or less seriously again, after a lengthy break, and have been indulging in sandwiches made with homemade whole wheat bread on a nearly daily basis (I bake two large loaves every two weeks, slice them and freeze them for future use). Mushroom bread has always been on my list of things to make, and this seemed like a perfect opportunity. It was also the first time I attempted to create an original bread recipe: until now, I’d merely followed published recipes, tweaking them here and there. I can’t say this is a particularly daring recipe (I followed generally accepted guidelines), but it was a great experience to find my own balance, and tweak the dough so as to obtain the kind of bread that I’m most fond of.
I chose to make rolls, crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. I incorporated the chanterelle powder directly into the dough, and also added some rehydrated dried wild mushrooms, to add some texture and flavour contrast. The result was very satisfactory (heck, I was pleased as a peacock with my first original bread), and while the chanterelles’ taste was subtle, you could definitely taste the hazelnutty hint in the crumb.
The second recipe I tried was a mushroom risotto. Once again, I tried not to overwhelm the chanterelles’ flavour. I sautéed some portobello and shiitake mushrooms separately, and sprinkled in the chanterelle powder as I simmered the rice in chicken stock, before tossing in the cooked mushrooms. The powder added some colour to the rice, and once again, the flavour was there.
I enjoyed experimenting with chanterelle powder. And, being a mushroom fiend, I have a feeling I’m going to be experimenting with other powders very soon!
Yields 12 small rolls
2 tsp instant yeast
500 ml (2 cups) warm water (about 37.7 ºC, 100 ºF)
2 tbsp olive oil
560 g (4 cups) bread flour
2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp dried chanterelle powder
25-30 g (1 oz) dehydrated wild mushrooms (e.g. shiitake, oyster mushrooms, boletes etc.)
Rehydrate the dried mushrooms according to the package instructions.
Pour the warm water into a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast into it and whisk to dissolve.
Combine 140 g (1 cup) of flour with the salt and chanterelle powder, and whisk it into the water mixture, along with the oil and the rehydrated mushrooms. Gradually add the rest of the flour, stirring with a wooden spoon. Switch to kneading with your hands when the tough becomes too sticky and tough. The dough should be smooth, soft, and tacky by the end.
Oil the bowl and the dough with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
Knead the dough for about 20 strokes, oil and cover again, and let rise for 90 minutes, or until doubled in size.
Separately tack two baking sheets on top of two other baking sheets. Cover the top sheets with parchment paper.
Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface. Divide it into 12 equal portions and form each portion into a ball. Place the balls onto the prepared baking sheets, cover lightly with plastic wrap, and let rise for 45 minutes.
Place a rack at the center of your oven, and another just below. Fill a heatproof baking pan two-thirds of the way up with hot water, place it in the lover rack of the oven, and preheat oven to 220 ºC (425 ºF).
Spray your rolls with water and put them on the center rack of the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through the baking time. Remove the rolls from the baking sheets and let cool on racks.
You can freeze the baked rolls for future use.
150g (5 oz) fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and diced
200 g (7 oz) fresh portobello mushrooms, stemmed and diced
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
200 g (7 oz) carnaroli rice
1 litre (4 cups) homemade chicken stock
2 tbsp dried chanterelle powder
Salt and pepper, to taste
Heat the chicken stock over low heat.
Heat half of the olive oil in a skillet or wok, over medium-high heat. Add the diced mushrooms, salt lightly, and sauté until browned. Transfer the mushrooms to a plate or bowl, and reserve.
In a large saucepan, heat the remaining olive oil, over medium heat. Add the onion, and cook until soft and translucent, stirring quite often. Add the rice, and stir until the grains are coated with oil, about 1 minute. Pour in a ladleful of chicken stock, and stir constantly until all the stock has been absorbed. Pour in another ladleful of stock, then add the chanterelle powder, still stirring constantly. Continue adding the stock gradually, always stirring, until the rice is cooked al dente (if you run out of stock, add water instead). Toward the end of the cooking process, toss in the cooked mushrooms, and stir to combine and heat through. Adjust seasoning and serve immediately.