Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup -- Barefoot Bloggers

This week the oh-so-fun cooking club Barefoot Bloggers tackled Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup , chosen by Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker I was super excited about this recipe because we got to make our own stock, use interesting mushrooms, and best of all I absolutely LOVE cream of mushroom soup but rarely make it because hubby doesn't like mushrooms. Thank you Chelle, for this 'excuse' to make an amazing soup!

Let me tell you a few things I changed, I used 'baby' portobello mushrooms, I love regular portobellos but find their texture more appropritate in sandwiches, burgers, atop salads, grilled, etc., when I am doing a soup or pasta dish I don't like to use those big ole lovable lugs of the mushroom family because they don't get the spotlight they deserve, and tend to steal the show from other flavors in a soup or pasta dish. I also could not find porcini or crimini mushrooms at the store and went with oyster instead, which looked lovely, in the package was a huge cluster on them and I just couldn't resist. Plus I knew that such a big stem (almost stalk) would add great flavor to the stock.
I used whole milk in place of the half and half, of course I kept the heavy cream, it is cream of mushroom soup :) I usually try to buy all ingredients as written but we never use half and half and figured that the kid's whole milk would be an okay substitution.
I am not a huge leek fan, so made an 'executive' decision at the last minute while cooking and decided to toss my leeks into the stock pot with the onion and carrot and mushroom stems. I figured then I would get the flavor of the leeks, and not the texture, which is what I don't like. I know it sounds silly but I was really hemming and hawing about what to do with the leeks, in the end I chose to add them to the stock because I didn't want to ruin a potentially amazing cream of mushroom soup with leeks, and who knows the next time I would get an excuse to make a favorite of mine like this soup?
What did I think of this soup? I loved it! It was amazing, just as I'd hoped. Soft and velvety smooth and full of depth, creamy but not heavy, perfect in almost every way! This soup was a lot of work, hours, seriously. I know Ina says clearly in the recipe Do Not Wash the mushrooms but I couldn't help myself. I am from the 'school' that you should always wash mushrooms, and I always have, don't worry, you won't lose any of that amazing earthy taste, promise! You might avoid some grainy texture in your finished dish as well, that's a positive :) Yes, it is extra work, and really to each their own, but I would rather spend an extra 15 minutes washing mushrooms than not. I'm kind of on the fence about the parsley addition as well, I know I used Italian and not the flat leaf that is suggested but Italian is what looked the freshest at Meijer so I went with 'freshest is bestest' on that one. Someday soon I hope to have a little herb garden so I can really learn about fresh herbs and their flavors but other than what the internet tells me have no clue on the differences of the parsley varieties. I think if I were to make this same recipe again I would add the parsley to the stock instead of the soup, like I did with the leeks. Really though I was so so happy with this dish and so glad to make it, as a soup and mushroom lover you really can't get much better than this :)
Ina Garten's Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms -- I used baby bellas
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms -- I used oyster because I couldn't locate cremini or porcini
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus -- I used dried thyme from the spice rack, couldn't locate fresh
1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half -- I used whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley --
I used Italian parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! --- Sorry Ina, had to wash my mushrooms! --- Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. --- Sorry leeks, had to add you to the stock pot, didn't want you to interfere with my creamy mushroom goodness. --- Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.


Cathy said...

I'm so glad you liked this Andrea! It was really fun to make. I love that you used baby bellas - I think that was a great call. The huge ones were sort of cumbersome to work with. I followed Ina's instructions and wiped my mushrooms with a paper towel rather than washing, but it felt just plain wrong. I've washed mushrooms before and never had a problem. Oh well. Glad you enjoyed the soup -- I thought it was fun to make and delicious, even though I probably won't make it much because it doesn't really work with our lifestyle (seeing as the kids don't eat mushrooms and I don't need to be eating things this rich!)

Elra said...

Andrea, this looks so creamy and delicious. I must admit that I never made this type of mushroom soup before.
Anyway, I have an award for you waiting @
Do check it out if you have the time, Cheers.

Debinhawaii said...

Your soup looks like it turned out really well. I know what you mean about the big portabellas. Since I couldn't find the baby ones I just used less of them and more of the other mushroooms. It was a yummy soup!

Suzie said...

Your soup looks great. Glad it was such a huge hit in your house.

Prudy said...

Oh my goodness-that first shot of the soup looks gorgeous! Why is it that so many men won't touch mushrooms???

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you had an excuse to make it and enjoy it. Those mushrooms look truly frightening!
I hope you get an herb garden one day, I just started one a few years ago and I could not live without it now. I still buy parsley at the store though- it just doesn't grow fast enough.

Christine said...

I have a problem with just wiping the mushrooms, I like my food clean before I cook it! Your soup looks delicious and I am glad that you enjoyed it!

Cynthia's Blog said...

Totally loved this blog! I went to a mushroom plant once years ago when we were in high school. UGH. they are filthy. But i have noticed the mushrooms at my market are packaged pretty clean now. Nice photos

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