Hilary Eats Chanterelles

Tail end of Winter with Chanterelles Grises


I love eating from bowls. Definitely one of my favourite things even above eating with my hands, which is a special pleasure too. The fun of it is in putting enough texture,  subtlety and grandstanding to give variety to each mouthful, lest it be boring. One utensil, one bowl, but not a one-note meal. This is one of those.

Winter is not yet gone, and I still need those warming complex carbs to keep the spirit up and body energised. Fresh herbs wake up the palate, white beans are creamy and the potato is gently sweet. Chanterelles Grises, also known as the Yellowfoot Winter Mushroom add complexity.

This mushie is not a Chanterelle but actually in the Black Trumpet family, delicate, meaty and buttery (thank you Langdon Cook). Be sure to space them properly during cooking for a lovely seared steak quality to your mushrooms.


The Tail End of Winter with Chanterelles Grises
Make Ahead: roast sweet potato up to a day ahead to make this a 15-20 min meal!
Cook Time: 45-60 mins to roast sweet potato, final 15 to throw it all together
Active Time: 15-20 total with 10 mins chopping etc.

Serves 2

200g of Chanterelles Grises, Black Trumpet or Shiitake will also work
300g of washed young kale (Cavolo nero is very nice)
150g of cooked or canned white beans (cannelini)
150g of watercress, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato

1 medium garlic clove, minced
4 sprigs young thyme leaves
1 small handful of fresh cilantro
1 stalk of a green onion, green part only sliced thinly
4 Tablespoons or 60ml of Extra virgin olive oil, ghee or 50/50
1/2 a Lemon
Salt & Pepper

Non-Vegan Protein and a treat for Flex and the Gang:
3 pinches of shaved Parmigiano Reggiano (skip if your goal is weight loss)
2 poached eggs

Lifehack: a cup of cooked whole grains, legumes, a baked sweet potato are great to have on hand as a meal starter and time saver. You can do this easily while cooking one day, I like Sundays for this. Then you have the basis for a couple days worth of 15-20min dinners.

Preheat your oven to 250C and bake your sweet potato until a knife will easily pierce it (about 45-60 mins depending on size, check from 40mins), set aside to cool or Lifehack that and have a way better time. You still need to preheat that oven for the mushrooms. Chop the sweet potato into medium size chunks and set aside. Allow your cooked white beans to come to room temperature or if canned, drain and rinse the beans.

Pick over any earth or debris from the Chanterelles Grises, can brush lightly to clean. Toss them in 2 Tbs of olive oil, set on baking paper and space them on a tray so they are barely touching. Season with salt and pepper and broil them, keep a close eye after 7 mins.

Once they are in the oven, set a pan with water to boil for the egg poaching if applicable in 3-4 fingers high of water and a dash of vinegar. I used coconut, but any light one will do, white balsamic, white wine, and plain white. Warm the garlic in 2 Tbs of the olive oil/ghee in a pan with half the thyme leaves on med-low heat. Avoid smoking the oil as this degrades the good fats into not so good fats. Now add the chopped kale and toss in the oil and add the eggs for poaching to the pan of simmering water.

In 2-3 mins the eggs will be ready and the greens will brighten. Remove the eggs with a slotted spoon and set aside to drain. Quickly add your white beans and sweet potato to the kale, toss a bit and cook over medium-low heat until warmed through (7-10 mins) and check your mushies. Season the veg with salt and pepper and finish with a squeeze of the lemon, straining any seeds.

Turn off the heat on greens and veg and remove the mushrooms from the oven, which should be golden brown and lightly crispy. Toss the watercress in with the cooked veg, top with the egg if applicable, a handful of mushrooms, and a pinch each of cilantro and green onion. Sprinkle with the cheese last if desired and a turn of freshly ground pepper. Enjoy from a bowl.

For more on foraging and mushrooms, have a look at Fat of the Land or Langdon Cook’s book The Mushroom Hunters