Some years ago, a few friends took me on a hike in the Cascade Mountains on my birthday weekend, which happens to be in October. We had a lovely fall hike up to a set of waterfalls. On the way back down, I noticed my friends were stopping and veering off the trail. Suddenly I heard “Aha, now we’re talking”. Unbeknownst to me, my friends had been planning a little surprise for my birthday. They were secretly hunting for chanterelle mushrooms in the duff under the canopies of the many giant fir and cedar trees along the trail. When they had enough, we stopped at a picnic area where I was treated to chanterelles sautéed in garlic and butter on a small camp stove. I have been hooked on wild mushrooms ever since! They were so delicious and fresh, what a revelation.
This recipe comes from an article I read from Alex Guarnaschelli where she described how she likes to cook mushrooms in red wine. I have been playing with my own version using different mushrooms and vegetables. It is really silky and savory and a wonderful side dish. It can also be used as a vegetarian main dish served over brown basmati rice or quinoa.
The woods are teeming with wild mushrooms right now, and expert mushroom hunters are hard at work harvesting chanterelles, oyster, and shitake mushrooms. You will easily find them in your local grocery stores, so go ahead and try a new way to present cooked mushrooms to your family. Another option is buying dried mushrooms which are less expensive, and rehydrate before you start the dish.
Serving the mushrooms warm over rice or as a side with beef or pork is a wonderful cozy fall meal that satisfies. It is lovely paired with a nice, dry red wine.
Editors Note: Please do not go mushroom hunting unless you really know what you’re doing, or you’re with a seasoned mushroom hunter! Many mushrooms are HIGHLY POISONOUS.