I went on my first successful forage of the year today. Since it is early, I wanted to go somewhere that was wet, and with not a lot of tree cover. To the swamps I went. Luckily, I was right and I was able to bring back a decent little bag of treats. With the ramps up and maturing, it’s time to eat some.
Since the leaves are the first part of the plant to deteriorate when they hit your refrigerator, I took half of the ones I picked today and quickly made something with them to enjoy for the next few days: a simple soup made from a pheasant carcass and some little yellowfoot chanterelle mushrooms I had dried and was saving for a special occasion. Alongside them in the broth are some ramp parisienne gnocchi.
The dried yellowfoo chanterelles really shine here. They have a rich mushroomy flavor that, while not very intense when fresh, really gets concentrated when they’re dried. The Yellowfeet are one of the only mushrooms from the chanterelle family besides black trumpets that you would want to dry. They are hollow, and very fragile to begin with, so they dry very easily and develop a nice flavor.
This is a light soup, which I would probably serve in a small portion as a first course to diners, to be followed by something else, but you could easily add some other components and make it into a meal. A nice drizzle of flavored oil would be great on top of this too, a poached egg would be fantastic too.
Yellowfoot Chanterelle-Pheasant Soup with Ramp Gnocchi
Serves 4 as an appetizer, 2 as an entree
- 4 pheasant tenderloins, or a 4 oz pheasant breast, cooked and diced
- 1 Tbsp ramp leaves to garnish, cut into 1/2 in cubes
- 1 quart pheasant, chicken stock, or meat stock (preferably homemade)
- 1 recipe ramp gnocchi
- 1 oz dried Yellowfoot mushrooms or another dried mushroom of your choice
- Heat the pheasant, chicken, or vegetable stock with the dried mushrooms, stir and leave to infuse while you prepare the recipe for ramp gnocchi.
- Cook and cool the Gnocchi, see a recipe for those here.
- Strain the dried mushrooms out of the stock, rinse lightly to remove any grit, then strain the stock through cheesecloth to remove and grit that may have come off of the wild mushrooms. Put the mushrooms back in the broth, season to taste lightly with salt, and set aside.
- Season the pheasant or chicken tenderloins with salt and pepper and cook in a pan until they are just done. Remove the tenderloins and cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
Finishing and plating
- Heat the seasoned broth with the mushrooms in it, add the chicken, ramp gnocchi, and heat through.
- Scoop a ladle into each of four pre-warmed dinner bowls, garnish with the diced ramp leaves and serve.