Wild mushroom soup
A Thanksgiving tradition in my house
Years ago, when I was still a Thanksgiving novice, my friend Kathryn recommended several recipes from The Silver Palate Cookbook, by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. The book was first published in 1982, but was updated in 2007. I confess, for many years this book was my Thanksgiving bible. This mushroom soup is one of the Silver Palate recipes I have used over and over. I like to serve a mug of soup as an appetizer before the meal. It simplifies serving and is a welcome prelude to the good things that are to come.
I like to use a mixture of dried porcini, chanterelles and morels, but you can vary the type you use. This soup is not inexpensive to make. It relies on dried wild mushrooms. While less expensive than fresh wild mushrooms, they can still add up. Trader Joe's sells a medly of dried wild mushrooms at a reasonable price. Melissa's also offers an assortment of dried mushrooms. Alternatively, you can reduce the amount of dried wild mushrooms from 2 ounces to 1 ounce.
Make it creamy with or without the cream
The secret to this soup is to puree it in the blender. Blending the cooked soup achieves the best texture. See my post on making creamless vegetable soups for more details. The one thing to remember when blending hot soup is to not fill the blender by more than about 60%, really hold the lid down firmly and gradually increase the blender speed.
The cream is optional in this soup. It is delicious without it, but it is over-the-top fabulous with a bit of cream.
I like to garnish the soup with a pinch of chopped thyme, a tablespoon of mascarpone cheese and a sprinkle of crunchy Maldon salt.
Make in advance
Soup can be made a day in advance or made in advance and frozen. If you are freezing you may want to make the soup without cream and then add the cream just before serving.
- 2 ounces dried wild mushrooms (such as porcini, chanterelles and morels)
- 1 cup Madeira wine
- 1 T unsalted butter
- 2 cups onions, chopped (about 1.5 large onions)
- 4 t fresh thyme, stemmed and chopped, divided
- 2 pounds fresh white mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and roughly chopped
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup heavy cream (optional)
- Maldon salt
- Fresh ground pepper
- 6 T mascarpone cheese (optional)
- Rinse the dried mushrooms in a colander to remove any debris. Put the mushrooms in a bowl just large enough to hold them. Pour Madeira over the mushrooms and allow to soak and reconstitute for about an hour. Turn the mushrooms occasionally.
- Melt the butter in a heavy bottomed pot such as a Dutch oven, and add the onions and stir to coat in the melted butter. Cover and sauté the onions on low heat for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to change color. Stir in 2 t chopped thyme.
- Add the chopped mushrooms to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Lift the reconstituted dried mushrooms out of the bowl, reserving the liquid. Chop the mushrooms into ½" pieces and add to the soup pot. Line a cup with a coffee filter and pour the residual liquid through the cup to strain out any debris. Add the liquid to the soup pot.
- Add the chicken broth to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and cook for about 45 minutes. Remove from the heat.
- Working in batches, fill a blender to 60% of its volume, hold the lid down tightly and puree the soup beginning with a medium speed and then taking it up to high. Pour the pureed soup into a holding bowl and continue until all the soup is pureed.
- Return the pureed soup to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you are using cream stir it in. Check seasoning again.
- Serve in individual bowls or mugs. Garnish each bowl with a pinch of chopped thyme, a T of mascarpone cheese and a sprinkling of Maldon salt.
THIS SERVES WELL WITH