The meaty texture of chanterelle mushrooms and their ability to soak up flavor makes them perfect for these “rillettes”. White button mushrooms can be substituted, but increase the quantity by half a pound as they contain a bit more water than chanterelles. Yield: 2½ cups
1. Add 4 ounces of butter to a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Cook until the butter foams and lightly browns then add the olive oil and the mushrooms. Stir well to coat the mushrooms with the fat. Cook 1 to 2 minutes until the mushrooms begin to exude their juices.
2. Add the garlic, shallots and thymes leaves. Stir to combine evenly. Cook 4 to 5 minutes until juices have reduced by half. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Place a strainer over a medium bowl. Remove mushrooms from the heat and transfer to the strainer. Drain the mushrooms well and press with a large spoon to get as much of the juice from them as possible.
4. Turn the mushrooms out onto a large cutting board and chop finely with a sharp knife. A food processor can also be used but proceed carefully. You don’t want the mushrooms to turn into a paste. A finely chopped texture is very important.
5. Whisk the balsamic into the strained juices. Then add the mushrooms and mix until juices, fat and mushrooms are evenly combined. Spoon into 3 or 4 ramekins, ceramic pots or small dishes.
6. In a small pan over medium heat, slowly clarify the remaining 4 ounces of butter. Cook until butter separates and becomes clear and solids are slightly golden and stick to the bottom of the pot. The browned solids will lend their nutty taste to the clarified butter. Strain the clear butter off the top into a heatproof bowl.
7. Use a ladle or place the butter into a heatproof measuring cup and pour the clarified butter evenly between the pots of rillettes to cover and seal. Place a small thyme sprig into the butter to garnish.
8. Chill in the refrigerator until butter is solid and rillettes have time to settle into their flavor.
9. Bring to room temperature before serving so you are able to easily strike through the butter seal and spread the rillette. Do not remove the butter seal. It is delicious eaten along with the rillette spread on crisp crostini.