Monday, January 26, 2009

Recipe: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

I've been on a bit of a soup kick, lately, with the well below freezing outside temperatures. For whatever reason, it never really occurs to me to take pictures of soup, because we all sort of know what it looks like. Nonetheless, here's my best attempt to replicate the delicious version of "crema di funghi zuppi" from Basilico.

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 75 minutes

  • olive oil
  • approx. 4 Tbs. of butter
  • one large, or two small onions
  • one large leek, white and light green parts sliced (~ 1/8" wide rings, or you could use ~ 1/4 cup of diced shallots)
  • 3/4 lb. of mixed wild mushrooms (shiitake, portobello, and porcini are good choices; personally I want the dark color for contrast with the cream base, so I leave inoke or oyster mushrooms out of this)
  • scant 1/4 cup of flour
  • 3/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • 3/4 cup of half-and-half
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. of thyme, depending on your taste
  1. Brush off the mushrooms with a damp towel, and remove the stems to use for stock
  2. Chop the stems, and mushroom caps
  3. Sautee the mushroom stems, onion, a pinch of the thyme, 3/4 tsp. of salt, and half that of freshly ground black pepper for 10 - 15 minutes, in 1 Tbs. olive oil and 1 Tbs. of butter
  4. Add 4 cups of water to the pot, bring to a boil, and simmer, uncovered for half an hour
  5. Strain the mushroom stock, and discard the solids
  6. Sautee the leeks in the remaining butter, with an additional 1 Tbs. of olive oil, on low heat, for about 10 - 15 minutes, until the leeks start to carmelize
  7. Add the chopped/diced mushroom caps and flour. Cook for another minute or so
  8. Add the white wine to deglaze the pot, scraping and stirring up the goodness (this takes about a minute or less)
  9. Add in the mushroom stock, remaining thyme, salt and pepper, and bring to a boil
  10. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes
  11. Add the milk and half-and-half, and heat through, but don't boil it
  12. Adjust salt and pepper as necessary
  13. Serve as is, if you prefer, or whoosh it with a "boat motor" mixer to turn the mushrooms into flecks rather than chunks
  1. The wine is optional, if you're a teetotaler, or don't have any on hand, but it does add something.
  2. Basilico whooshes the soup, which I prefer, but I consider that optional.
  3. This makes a slightly-thick, creamy soup. If you prefer something thicker, richer, and more calorie-laden, just increase the flour content a little, and use light cream instead of a mix of milk and half-and-half.
  4. I don't bother garnishing it with anything, but I only serve it at home
  5. The recipe may sound more difficult than it is. It really only takes about 20 minutes worth of full attention to what's on the stovetop, during the two sautee processes, and the rest is just simmering, until the dairy goes in at the very end.
  6. If the idea of a light roux to thicken it makes you want to barf, calorie-wise, just use a slurry of cornstarch instead.

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