Earlier this week I was throwing together staff meal for a video shoot with Barebones Living. A big bowl of wild rice with chanterelle mushrooms was supposed to be for the crew, but it ended up in the shoot.
The shoot was focused on summer foraging and campfire cooking. I’d planned on making pork chops with serviceberry sauce, as well as my favorite French chanterelle omelet.
As I prepped ingredients for the shoot the night before, I remembered I’d forgotten to make staff meal. Thinking back to my first trip to the barrens with Sam Thayer, I remembered escaping the sun under some hazelnut shrubs to share a big bowl of wild rice with vegetables for lunch.
Wild rice, especially natural wild rice, is great at any temperature. Served cool, warm, or room temp, it makes a great salad as it’s not as heavy as black paddy wild rice. If you’re not familiar with the real deal, there’s a link at the bottom of the post where I go in-depth on the confusing differences between different types of wild rice.
I cooked up a big pan of chanterelles and a couple handfuls of summer vegetables, added some rice, seasoned it, let it cool, mixed in a bunch of herbs, and packed it into deli containers.
As I cooked I thought about how it was a nice, one-pan chanterelle recipe that’d also be perfect for the shoot, and more rustic than my omelet than makes a smaller serving. So I scratched the omelet and prepped another batch of rice for the shoot instead.
Some of the best food is cooked in the moment with feel and instinct, instead of by following directions.
How to Make It
There’s a lot of mushrooms in this. It’s a good thing to make when you have a bag of mushrooms cleaned in the fridge already and you couldn’t help but go and pick more anyway.
You cook a little cured meat like bacon (optional), lots of chanterelles or other wild mushrooms, wild rice, a couple stingy handfuls of vegetables that function as a garnish, and plenty of herbs.
It’s all about the wild mushrooms and rice here. A handful of black walnuts is a nice touch if you have some.
For the vegetables, I used a little fennel, carrot and garlic scapes, but these can be whatever you have on hand. I made it a few times throughout the week, switching out fennel for sweet corn, peppers for carrots, etc.
Whatever you do, try to keep the amount of vegetables to around 8 oz (not including the scallions) as they’re just a garnish. If you use too many the chanterelles can fade into the background.
If I serve salads like this cold or room temp, I season it more, and I might omit the mushrooms or cut them into smaller pieces. Adding extra oil like Sam’s hickory nut, or some EVOO, along with some fresh lemon juice or vinegar and extra herbs can make it pop more if it’s eaten cool too. Wild rice salads also travel well.
Warm Chanterelle Mushroom and Wild Rice Salad
Mushrooms and Vegetables
- 1 3 oz fennel, diced small 1/4 inch dice
- 1 small carrot, peeled and thinly sliced 1/4 inch slices
- 2 oz garlic scapes, thinly sliced
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, tops and bottoms trimmed
- 1 large clove garlic grated or minced
- 10 oz chanterelles preferably smaller buttons
- 4 oz thinly sliced or diced bacon I use homemade, diced slab bacon, you can omit it if you want to serve it cold.
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter or oil use butter if you’ll serve it hot or warm, oil if you’ll serve it as a salad
- 2 oz 1/4 cup lightly toasted black walnuts, optional
- 1 cup natural wild rice
- 2 cups chicken stock or water
- Generous handful of roughly shredded herbs such as oregano, basil, thyme, dill, mint, tarragon, chives, or a combination of whatever you have, to taste
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- Dill flowers, optional
- Combine the wild rice, ½ teaspoon salt (skip the salt if you use stock that’s seasoned) water or stock and bring to a simmer.
- Cover the pan and cook on low for 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been completely absorbed. Allow the rice to rest while you’re preparing the rest of the ingredients.
Chanterelles and Vegetables
- Clean the chanterelles by swishing in water quickly if needed. Large mushrooms should be cut in half. Small buttons that haven’t opened their caps should be left whole.
- Render the fat from the bacon slowly on medium-high heat in a large 10-12 inch cast iron skillet.
- When the fat has released, add the chanterelles, turning the heat to medium and cooking until their liquid has released and the mushrooms have begun to take on some color. If the pan threatens to get dry, add a splash of stock or water.
- Add half the butter or oil, vegetables (except the scallions) and garlic, season with a generous pinch of salt, turn the heat to medium-low, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the rice and the nuts, remaining butter or oil, stir and heat through. Double check the seasoning and adjust until it tastes good to you. It should be lightly dressed with fat, herby, and well seasoned. Serve garnished with a few dill flowers, if using.
- The rice will keep for 3-4 days in the fridge.
To serve the dish as a cold or room temperature salad
- Season the dish with a little extra oil and salt as chilling mutes flavors. I like to pack it into deli containers and bring it in a cooler for a quick, filling meal in the field. Before serving I might add lemon juice or vinegar, and more fresh herbs.