Monday, February 4, 2013

Cream of Mushroom Soup

A few years ago, my family and I made beef wellington for Christmas dinner. We got a bit over zealous with our mushroom purchase however, and were left with far too many than we needed. I decided to use up all of those delicious fungi and made this creamy mushroom soup to get us through the days following Christmas. My brother and sister-in-law are huge mushroom fans and I think they enjoyed this soup more than their actual gifts! Needless to say, I've been making it ever since.

I've been in such a mushroom mood the last few weeks and after making a delicious mushroom risotto with my friend Carolyn a couple weeks ago, I've been hooked! I saw some beautiful mushrooms at the farmer's market last weekend and gave in to temptation.

To me, this is a classic way to prepare cream of mushroom soup. It's simple and straightforward and a perfect dinner on a cold winter's night. Don't forget to pick up some crusty bread to sop up all of that mushroomy goodness! 

Adapted from a Food Network Kitchen recipe 

1 lb. (16 oz.) mushrooms (see notes below), stemmed and roughly chopped (stems reserved)
5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
4 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
2 large shallots (or 1 yellow onion), chopped
¼ cup flour
1 cup white wine
3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a 2-quart saucepan, add the reserved mushroom stems and chicken or vegetable stock. Bring the stock to a boil, turn off heat, cover pot, and set aside. 

In a large 8-quart pot, heat the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and shallots, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for about 4 minutes, until the leeks have softened and shallots are just translucent. 

Add the mushrooms, stir, and saute until they are browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Slowly add the flour while stirring constantly and cook for another minute. Pour in the wine and allow the alcohol to cook out, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chicken or vegetable stock and stir to combine. Tie the thyme sprigs and bay leaf together using butcher's twine and add to the pot. Bring the soup to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

Remove the herb bundle and transfer the soup in batches to a food processor and puree until smooth. Pour the pureed soup through a fine mesh strainer back into the pot, working the liquid through using a rubber spatula. Stir in cream and return the soup to a boil. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish each bowl with a sprinkling of thyme leaves or a sprig of thyme and serve piping hot. 

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

  • Use any combination of mushrooms for this soup. I used a mixture of crimini, white buttons, shiitake, and portobellos. Let the market be your guide! 
  • If you prefer a chunkier soup, skip the food processor and simply stir in the cream.

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