The famously bland stuff in a can has given mushroom soup a bad name. This Wild Mushroom Soup doesn’t even remotely resemble that gloppy mess. When you make it yourself it’s savory, full-bodied, gutsy, earthy… all great qualities in a winter soup. I love the color, too. That woodsy brown comes from the fresh cremini and shitake, along with the dried mushrooms. The wilder the better. Don’t expect to get anything like it if you only buy white button mushrooms. But the good news is that most stores carry several different varieties of fresh mushrooms, as well as dried, right there next to the boring pre-sliced white ones. So you have no excuse, be brave and reach for the unfamiliar ones. Just remember to keep your mushrooms in paper bags, not plastic, and in the refrigerator until you are ready to use them. They need the air circulation to stay fresh or they’ll go all slimy on you.
This soup is pureed, but not overly thickened, with a minimal amount of cream added. I think my way emphasizes the flavor and color in an appetizing way, without being too heavy. If you want more texture you could also add sauteed mushrooms in at the end of this recipe, just saute them in a separate pan and add them after pureeing.
What You Will Need
- 1/2 oz package dried wild mushrooms (I used porcini)
- 1 26-oz container of chicken stock (about 3 cups)
- 1 lb fresh mushrooms (I used cremini, button, and shitake)
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 2 large shallots, peeled and minced
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup cognac (or dry Sherry)
- handful of fresh thyme sprigs, leaves removed
- 1 1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste)
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper to taste (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 cup creme fraiche, or heavy cream
- sliced cooked mushrooms
- more cream or creme fraiche
- thyme leaves
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 2 cups lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and chop them, reserving the soaking liquid. Strain the reserved liquid to remove any sediment.
- Brush the fresh mushrooms clean with a damp cloth, then trim off the ends of the stems, and slice.
- Melt the butter in a heavy stockpot and saute the shallots for a few minutes, stirring often.
- Add the fresh mushrooms to the pan, and saute until the mushrooms start to soften and brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add the flour to the pot and cook, stirring constantly, for a minute. Add the cognac and the chicken stock to the pot, stirring to combine. Add the reserved soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms, the thyme, salt and pepper. Bring up to a simmer and then simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree the soup, either in a food processor, blender, or with an immersion blender. Add the cream or creme fraiche, reheat the soup, and then check the seasonings. Add more fresh thyme, salt and or pepper as needed.
- Serve hot, garnished with a few cooked mushrooms, a drizzle of cream or creme fraiche, and a few thyme leaves.
This recipe is slightly adapted from karmelowy.pl
I made this soup smack dab in the middle of a busy week as a respite from all the stress, and because I need to remind myself that one does not live by sugar alone. I’ve been up to my elbows in cookie dough and I needed some good old fashioned sustenance. Can’t you just see yourself sitting down to a cup of this with your favorite sandwich, in front of the fire. Your tree is decorated, your gifts are wrapped. Your cookies are packaged…you don’t have a care in the world. (…or just fake it.)
I’ve got one daughter in the air right now, on her way home from college. The other follows soon. Clean sheets, a new bottle of bubble bath by the tub, a plate of cookies, a groomed dog… those are the little luxuries that await them. The rest is all fluff.