Chanterelle Soup

Chantrelle Soup
Summer is slowly fading away here:  the days are still sunny and long, but there is a crispness to the air that means Fall will soon take over.  Yes, I know that it is only early August.  I'm having a hard time accepting that the hot warm days are over.  I am just not ready for this.  Summer was good to us with long, relaxing days at the cabin - the quintessential "mummon mökki" or "grandma's cabin" in central Finland.  Late nights, sleeping in, sauna & swim, fishing, berry picking, relaxing in the sun & rain.  Yes, it has been a good summer.

Lupine growing in front of the log cabin, painted the traditional red

Views of the buildings in the yard: traditional smoke sauna behind the apple tree on the right

And even though the best of summer is behind us now, there is a perk to the change in weather:

Top to bottom:  Chanterelles, white hedgehog,  red boletus

There are mushrooms everywhere.  And their arrival is coinciding with harvest time in Finland, which means that I also have loads of fresh vegetables:

Harvest from the cabin garden:  Swiss Chard, beets, potatoes

Chanterelles are incredibly versatile.  You can fry them in a little butter, salt them lightly, and serve them with freshly caught pike as E did.  You can add butter & onion to the above combination and serve them over new potatoes.  You can add them to a Zucchini casserole dish or to risotto for a wonderful flavor.

Lake views and dining under the pines
Lake Päijänne pike and chantrelles picked behind the cabin

Since there is no oven at the cabin - just a single hot plate that plugs into the wall - and no running water, we keep meals simple there.  One-pot meals and as few dishes as possible is a good rule, though I still don't like using paper plates even if it means spending an extra half an hour doing the dishes.  It's way more fun to eat off of "real plates" rather than dealing with the sogginess of the paper versions and plastic utensils, not to mention the waste factor.

Hot plate with a view
There aren't many meals simpler than a one-pot meal made of stuff growing in the garden or in the woods behind the house served with bread, cheese, and garden lettuce.

Table set for a simple supper

Fresh herbs add flavor and color
Chanterelle Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion + onion greens if you have them, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced

Heat the oil in the soup pot and add the onion and garlic.  Cook until the onion is tender and beginning to turn golden brown.  Add:

6 dl / 3 cups hot water (preheat in a kettle)
500 g / 1 lb new potatoes, chopped small, skin on

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and let the mixture bubble until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.  Using the back of the fork, mash the potatoes roughly.  Don't worry about a smooth mixture:  you are aiming for rough chunks of potatoes.  Add:

1 liter / quart of fresh chanterelles.

If the chanterelles are small, leave them whole.  If they are large, pull them apart with your fingers or chop them roughly with a knife.  You want bigger pieces of chanterelle.

Let the mixture bubble for 5 minutes to allow the chanterelles to cook.  Add salt and pepper to taste, then add:

1 tablespoon each fresh chives, oregano and sage, diced.  
1/2 dl of ruokakermaa / 1/4 cup half & half

Stir the soup to incorporate the herbs, remove from heat, and let it sit for a minute or two to infuse the soup with the flavor of the herbs.  Serve with fresh bread.

Serves 4 for a light supper.

Eat local.

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