Wild about mushrooms

Celebrate fall with kantarellstuing

mushroom stew

Photo: Kristi Bissell for The Norwegian American
This wild mushroom stew is a vegetarian-friendly celebration of the fall harvest.

True North Kitchen

Norwegians are avid foragers. From berries to mushrooms to wild greens, foraging is a very popular activity throughout Scandinavia. This enduring custom also finds its way into the recipes of the region, many of which call for wild edibles as ingredients.

In Norway at this time of year, chanterelle mushrooms are in season. Golden in color and trumpet-shaped, chanterelles are prized for their good looks and their mildly earthy, almost fruity, flavor. Should you be able to get your hands on a handful of these beauties, you are well on your way to making kantarellstuing (Chanterelle Mushroom Stew), a Norwegian fall favorite.

But what if there are no chanterelle mushrooms where you live? No problem. I’ve developed this recipe for Norwegian Wild Mushroom Stew that calls for a combination of readily available cremini mushrooms (white button mushrooms work just fine, too) and whatever other interesting mushrooms you can find at your local grocery store. Chanterelles would be a beautiful choice for this stew, but so would oyster, shiitake or morel mushrooms come spring.  Let what’s available to you be your guide.

You’ll find a few unlikely ingredients in this stew that really amp up the savory factor and create a full-bodied, flavorful dish. Umami is a Japanese culinary term that means something close to savory, meaty depth of flavor. Mushrooms, wine, soy sauce, tomatoes, and even some cheeses are considered high on the umami meter, and adding these ingredients to vegetarian dishes really intensifies the savory experience. In this recipe, mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato paste and just a few teaspoons of soy sauce are the umami ingredients that really deepen the flavor of this satisfying vegetarian dish.

When it comes time to serve this stew, you have a few delicious options:

  • Spooned over creamy mashed potatoes (probably my favorite)
  • Ladled on top of a bed of cooked whole grains such as barley or farro
  • Tossed with warm pasta
  • Piled high on toasted sourdough bread

Whether you enjoy hunting for wild mushrooms or simply prefer to pick them up at the local grocery store (like me), this delicious and easy recipe for Norwegian Wild Mushroom Stew is a wonderful way to showcase their earthy goodness.

Norwegian Wild Mushroom Stew

Serves 4

By Kristi Bissell

2 tbsps. extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, diced small

1 ½ pounds cremini mushrooms, stems removed and sliced or quartered

1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

2 tsps. chopped fresh sage

1 tbsp. tomato paste

¾ cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)

1 tbsp. flour

2 cups vegetable broth

1 tbsp. soy sauce

3 tbsps. heavy cream

1 tbsp. unsalted butter

½ pound wild mushrooms (such as chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, or morels), stems removed and sliced or broken into smaller pieces if large

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 tbsps. chopped fresh parsley

Mashed potatoes, toasted sourdough bread, pasta or cooked whole grains (such as barley or farro) for serving

Here’s how you make it:

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add cremini mushrooms and a pinch of salt and cook until the mushrooms have given up their liquid and are browned and tender, about 10 minutes. Add thyme, sage, and tomato paste. Cook for one more minute. 

Add the tomatoes to the pot and stir to combine. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add 1 cup of broth, stirring constantly.  Add the remaining cup of broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until the stew has thickened slightly. Add the soy sauce and cream.  Season to taste with salt and pepper. (The stew can be prepared up to a day ahead to this point. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to reheat and serve).

Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the wild mushrooms and saute until they give up their liquid and begin to brown, about 5-8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the wild mushrooms to the warm stew and stir gently to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley and serve over mashed potatoes, toasted sourdough bread, pasta or cooked whole grains such as barley or farro.

This article originally appeared in the Sept. 17, 2021, issue of The Norwegian American.

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Kristi Bissell

Kristi Bissell is the founder of True North Kitchen, a Nordic food blog designed for the American home cook. She enjoys creating recipes that celebrate her Scandinavian heritage and that approach traditional Nordic ingredients in a modern, fresh and approachable way. Kristi is a native of Minneapolis and currently resides in Omaha, Neb. When she’s not cooking and baking in her cozy kitchen, Kristi teaches private and corporate yoga classes and leads Scandinavian cooking and baking workshops. For more information, visit her blog, www.true-north-kitchen.com.