We all know why truffles are so damn expensive. Expert piggies and dogs work shifts in finding them all over the woods, in the shallow ground.
But then why is this so-called mushroom-god, the chanterelle, so pricy? After all, it grows in vivid vicinity, and hard to miss its proud golden sight. (*)
Shockingly, it has to do with the symbiotic relationship chanterelle needs with nearby trees. You can’t just culminate them, you have to venture into the wilderness, and forage every single one by hand.
There’s a good chance you won’t find them in every grocery store. Even if you do, coughing up $30-$50 for a pound might break the bank for many.
So, how do you substitute chanterelle? Maybe start foraging for yourself? (*)
Keep in mind the saying: There are bold mushroom foragers and there are old mushroom foragers, but there are no bold, old mushroom foragers.
Clearly, your safest bet is reading our guide on the best chanterelle substitutes. After that, head to the nearest farmer’s market and find a local mushroom man.
Let’s see why this gourmet delicacy is on every chef’s bucket list.
Why are Chanterelles So Good?
We can assure you, that this flashy placeholder in French cuisine will captivate your senses. Dating back to the 16th century, gaudy chanterelle has an unmatched elaborate taste.
Full-on apricot odor, with a hint of earthiness, and some peppery spiced undertones. It’s considered just as unique, as truffles taste.
Heavy tones of stonefruit and rose pepper, with a hint of sweet umami, chanterelle enamors us. At the same time, a meaty texture makes it easy to incorporate it into several dishes. But what exactly?
What are The Culinary Uses of Chanterelle?
The true range of chanterelle shows when cooked in alcohol, with a good amount of fat. Brandy, peaches, or sherry can truly create a flavor explosion in your palate with chanterelle.
Our favorite way to use chanterell is with a confit duck, paired with cherry sauce and roasted mushrooms. Fermenting also brings out the best in this ingredient.
Often paired with fresh salmon, eggs, or crepes, they are best served when you let them shine in a meal. Overpowering them is a waste of such a noble ingredient.
To let them rule the course, you can dry and crush them into seasoning, candy them into sweets, turn them into a heavy broth for soups and sauces, or sautée them on high heat.
We attribute its popularity to the complexity of its flavor; it’s out of this world compared to most mushrooms.
And to top that, as it’s fat-soluble and heat resistant, it makes the perfect ingredient for many fancy recipes.
You’re probably wondering how can you substitute such a distinct ingredient. To be frank, the choices are limited, but not zero.
Let’s see your options!
Top Five Substitutes for Chanterelle Mushrooms For Both Sweet & Savory Meals!
Some of these alternatives to chanterelle serve best to a handful of dishes. Others can be a blanket choice in every meal as a qualified substitute.
All of our suggested chanterelle alternatives are cheaper than the real deal but are mostly found at the farmer’s market or Asian specialty stores.
And why’s that? Unfortunately, bigger stores mostly sell the same 2 bland mushrooms, while there are 3000 edible ones worldwide.
The first substitute is the closest living relative to our golden nugget, the chanterelle.
1. Black Trumpet
The first choice had to be the black trumpet mushroom. This close cousin, true to its name, is greyish-black, used fresh and dried, and bears a robust aroma, with smokey undertones.
It should be your top pick for risottos during the summer and fall months when it’s in season. Don’t be intimidated by their nickname, “the trumpet of death”; they are chewy in just the right way and slightly smokey-sweet.
These thick, all-stem mushrooms are meant for grilling. Less fleshy, but more flavorful, they are great additions to Asian and French recipes.
One thing to keep in mind is to clean them thoroughly, as they tend to be quite dirty.
The next one is also similar in appearance, not just in taste.
2. Cinnabar Mushrooms
Cinnabar mushrooms are like a flamingo clone of our dear chanterelle. Their gaudy appearance is uncanny, with a peculiar coral color.
However, it is smaller, just an inch tall. The brighter the color, the bolder its taste. Go for blazing orange ones!
Cinnabar is even more spectacular for garnishing than chanterelle and holds a similar fruity, floral tone. Albeit, there’s a distinct piney taste to it.
Even with long minutes of sautéing, the color will hold. Good buttery heating will develop more of a sweet taste, while spices and high heat can bring out the earthiness in it.
We suggest you substitute chanterelle with cinnabar in soups, salads, or as a colorful side to fish and white meat.
The next alternative on our list is a favorite of many chefs.
3. Hedgehog Mushroom
From the long winter to spring season, hedgehog mushrooms are quick to replace out-of-season chanterelle in restaurants. ( * )
Also called sweet tooth due to the sharp ridges on its underside. The fruity aroma and earthy, smokey apricot-like taste is a good match to chanterelle.
However, it’s a dangerous game for novice foragers. The hedgehog mushroom can be easily mistaken for a poisonous mushroom, the jack-o’-lantern.
They are amazing in savory, mild, and nutty dishes, more on the meaty side. Frequently paired with nuts, game meat, garlic, and enhanced with oysters.
We don’t recommend it for especially sweet recipes. It lacks the balance to complement them.
The next chanterelle mushrooms substitute is similar in flavor and preferred cooking methods as well.
4. Pioppino Mushrooms
Less known pioppino mushrooms are found on one particular tree, the Poplar. Similarly to chanterelle, it’s best to cook them on high heat.
Boldly sauté them, roast or fry them to bring out the deepest flavors. From late summer, through fall, you can find them at most farmer’s markets.
They are an all-encompassing substitute for fancy chanterelle; just the same subtle floral tones, pepper flavor, and earthy notes. Use them however you feel fit, in any dish you make.
From light salads to filling grains, simply garnishing, or even heavier red meats; they are all welcoming to pioppino mushrooms instead of chanterelle.
Powerfully nutritious, these mushrooms are perfect for a whole-food, plant-based diet. The texture is sturdy, even under extreme heat.
We recommend heavily caramelizing them, and adding some thyme or tarragon, or mint.
But we’re still stuck at savory dishes. So how can we substitute chanterelle in sweet dishes?
The next one’s for you!
5. Candy Cap or Milk Cap Mushroom
Candy cap is understandably underrated. Most people shudder at the thought of a mushroom-tasting desert.
That is until they try it. After that, they become hooked.
As wild as it sounds, smelling candy cap, also known as milk cap mushroom, is like being in a maple forest. The sweetness just hits your face, reeks off your fingers, and smells long after this mushroom is gone.
Surprisingly often added to ice creams and cookies, people have no idea how much they eat of this mushroom on the regular.
You can incorporate it into syrups, custards, cakes, ice creams, or anything with dairy, and most cookies. It tastes incredibly strong, so use it more like a seasoning, than a main ingredient.
Besides delightfully sweet desserts, you can also add them to some savory meals. Especially with meats that love a balmy addition.
With pork, in curries, meatloafs, or venison, you can explore all the ranges of this chanterelle substitute. You can use them fresh or dried, the taste and aroma will be the same.
Add them to any dessert, or some savory meals, it is an adventurous choice, with just a hint of mushroomy taste.
But even choosing the most suitable ingredient won’t be enough, if you can’t store it properly, losing the taste and aroma. Let’s go over quickly how to keep your mushrooms.
How to Store Mushrooms?
When looking for mushrooms, the general rule is to buy fresh-looking, bright ones. No slimy or dried edges, or browning.
Keep them in a fridge drawer, wrapped in a cloth or paper bag. They will last longer this way.
Most mushrooms bought fresh can last anywhere from a week to a month in your fridge. However, mushrooms from the grocery store will last about three days to a week.
If your mushrooms begin to dry too soon, move them out of the drawer and put them on a plate uncovered in the fridge to dry out. These mushrooms can be rehydrated or ground into powder later.
BONUS: Our Favourite Chanterelle Mushroom Recipe
Get recipe: momsdish.com
You might also like: Which herbs pair well with mushrooms?
After trying all the less expensive alternatives to chanterelle, you must try the real deal one day. You will quickly understand the scope of flavors it adds to anything.
Even just a tiny amount will take your dish to another level. But until then, these chanterelle substitutes will serve you well in any dish.
When you set out to explore mushrooms, go for Asian markets first. They offer the widest selection, with fair prices.
Dried ones are best for slow and low cooking, while fresh ones are excellent for high-heat cooking.
However, most mushroom recipes don’t just call for their texture, but a distinctly specific taste. Commonly available ones usually lack any of that.
Bold mushrooms, such as chanterelle, truffle, portobello, or shitake can add an otherwise unavailable tone to any dish.
Even as a novice cook, you can’t go wrong with experimenting. And mushrooms are impossible to mess up.
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