There is nothing like the earthy, creamy flavor that screams mushrooms and that’s what I was searching for when I was testing, tweaking and refining this delicious mushroom soup. You know the feeling of a recipe so good you don’t need to wait until it’s on a restaurant menu. Well, this is it.
Foraged mushroom soup was the fourth course of An Offal Good Dinner, following tomato sorbet and preceding beef cheeks for the main course. This is really, really good if I say so myself and it’s also included in my recipe collection called More Soup For You!
A Word About Mushroom Hunting
If you are anything but an expert, collecting your own for consumption is a pretty big gamble. Free is a really good price until you mistakenly pick a poisonous one and it’s easy to make a mistake. Medieval royalty used food testers to be safe but now that’s against the law.
There are only two I know well enough to find and eat, oyster and morels. My grandfather taught me about them and he had his own secret place to hunt for morels. While he shared them with me, I was an adult before he trusted me with the location.
I threw in some locally foraged mushrooms for authenticity sake at our dinner, and I’m pretty sure they were oyster mushrooms. Well, no one suffered any gastro-intestinal distress so yes, they were oyster mushrooms.
Unless it’s a special occasion, or I happen to wander into the psychedelic strawberry field full of morels, I buy them at the market. You can use any available fresh or re-hydrated mushrooms but shitaake is my favorite. Our local market usually has a large selection with cremini, oyster, shitaake and chanterelle the most common.
- Yield: 8 1x
- 1 lb cremini mushrooms – sliced
- 1/2 lb shitaake mushrooms – de-stemmed and sliced
- 3/4 white onion – diced
- 1 leek – white part only – diced
- 3 TBL olive oil – divided
- 1 qt chicken broth
- 3 large garlic cloves – minced
- 6 TBL unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup merlot wine
- 1 pinch thyme
- 2 TBL flour
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Chives – chopped for garnish
- De-stem the shitaake mushrooms
- Remove any dirt or debris from all the mushrooms with a soft brush. You may quickly rinse them in a colander, but immediately pat them dry. Place them in a paper towel lined bowl to absorb any remaining moisture.
- Dice the onion and leek and mince the garlic
- In a large pot on medium high heat, cover and cook the mushrooms for 10 minutes in the butter with salt and pepper until the mushrooms give off their juices.
- Reduce heat to low, uncover and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until juices evaporate and the mushrooms are golden brown, about 30 minutes.
- De-glaze the pot with the wine and scrape any bits off the bottom of the pan
- While cooking the mushrooms, caramelize the onions, leek and garlic in 2 TBL of olive oil over medium low heat to avoid burning them
- Add 1 TBL olive oil and flour to the onion, leek and garlic and cook while stirring for 3-4 minutes
- Combine the onion mix into the mushroom/wine pot and cook until they are well mixed – about 5 minutes
- Add thyme and chicken broth 1 cup at a time while stirring
- Return to a low simmer for 1 hour stirring occasionally
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Puree in a blender or food processor until very smooth
- Return to the pot, whisk in the cream and return to a low simmer
- Thin with chicken broth or water if necessary
- Adjust final seasoning
- Rest in fridge overnight to allow time for the flavors to meld.
- Warm then ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chives and freshly cracked black pepper
And just one more thing…
I once worked with an amateur mycologist. He claimed to know the difference between edible and poisonous mushrooms and collected them from pblic forests. I wonder what he’s up to these days. I haven’t heard from him lately. Hmmm.