Friday, September 19, 2008

Wild Mushroom Soup

This is a basic mushroom soup that uses the addition of dried porcini mushrooms to impart a more robust flavor. It is delicious and easy-- great served with a thick piece of toasted country bread with melted Stilton or any other blue cheese.

30 grams dried porcini mushrooms

1-2 tablespoons butter
1 medium yellew onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup peeled and roughly chopped celeriac (celery root)-- if this is not available use 1/2 cup chopped celery
750 grams (about a pound and a half) fresh button mushrooms (brown or white), stems removed, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
6 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup heavy cream, half and half or whole milk
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

1) Put the dried porcini mushrooms into a bowl and pour 1 cup boiling water over them. Make sure that all of the porcinis are submerged. Allow to rehydrate while you are sauteing the fresh mushrooms.

2) Set a large pot over medium heat and put the butter in. Allow it to become frothy then add in the onion, garlic and celeriac or celery. Saute until just soft, then add in the wine and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes then add in the mushrooms. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the mushrooms slowly, allowing them to release their liquid.

3) 20 minutes after you began rehydrating the porcinis, they will be ready. Pull them out of the water and set aside. Place a paper towel over a large-ish bowl and carefully but quickly pour the porcini liquid into the paper towel-lined bowl (do this over the sink). The paper towel will strain the grit from the soaking liquid (throw it away). Now, roughly chop the porcinis and add them along with the soaking liquid to the cooking mushrooms. Pour in the stock and stir in the thyme. Cook at just barely a simmer, covered by cracked, for 20-30 minutes.

4) Using an immersion blender, blitz the soup until it is relatively smooth. Add in the cream or milk and taste-- add in sea salt and black pepper to taste. If you like, add a splash or dry sherry.

Makes about 10 cups.

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