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A really good mushroom soup

As the name suggests, this is an amazing soup. It is earthy and filled with the aromas of the forest, this is a soup for mushroom lovers.

The first step is to make the stock. This stock is the magic behind this soup, but if you cannot make the stock, any commercial (low-sodium) mushroom stock will work well. I however, make the stock on one day and finish the soup on the next.

This is a hearty soup that brings out the nuances of the different mushroom varieties. You can use the basic white or cremini button mushrooms, but the more exotic varieties, oyster, fresh shiitake, chanterelle are luxurious and amazing. I generally use a mix, some cremini, oyster and shiitake, and a few chanterelles if I am planning to splurge.

I have tried a number of mushroom soups over the years and this is one that stands out. Rich and luxurious, this soup lets your guests know that you are spoiling them. Deep mushroom and earthy flavors dominate and the pan sautéed balsamic mushrooms add that touch of luxury. As an additional variation, you can drizzle a few drops of truffle oil, instead of the mushrooms. This soup pairs beautifully with a fruity California pinot noir.

This is an amazing book dedicated to soups for all seasons from a master chef. Every soup is a delight, and unlike this one, most soups are easy to make. Deborah Madison is one of my favorite chefs and cookbook authors. She specializes in farm-to-table cuisine with vegetables galore. her recipes are out of the ordinary and always turn out superb. I am so happy to have most of her cookbooks on my shelf and you should too.

For more soups from this cookbook, click here.


For the soup:

2-3 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup sliced shallots

2 tablespoons parsley

1 lb mushrooms (see introduction for mushroom types), sliced

1 teaspoon pepper

Salt, to taste

1 garlic clove, chopped

1 slice white bread, or 1 cup breadcrumbs

3 cups mushroom broth (See recipe below) or chicken stock

1/2 cup milk or cream

Parsley, minced for garnish

For the broth:

1 tablespoon butter

1 onion, thinly sliced

2 carrots, sliced

2 garlic cloves, sliced

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 bay leaf

A handful parsley

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1/2 lb white or cremini mushrooms, sliced

1/2 cup dry white wine

Salt, to taste

1 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup dried mushrooms, preferably porcini or shiitake, soaked in 2 cups of water overnight

6 cups water

For the balsamic glazed mushrooms:

2 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 mushrooms, about 2-3 slices per bowl

Salt, to taste

1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

To make the broth:

Melt the butter in a wide stock pot and add the oil, vegetables, garlic and the herbs. Sauté on medium high heat, stirring often, till the vegetables are well browned, about 15 minutes.

Add the pepper, salt, tomato paste and sauté for 1 minute mixing in the paste well. Add the fresh mushrooms and continue to sauté till the mushrooms give out their liquids. Add the wine and scrape off any vegetables stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquids and water, and bring to a boil. Simmer covered for 45 minutes.

Remove the lid from the pot and simmer for an additional 25 minutes to reduce the stock and concentrate the flavors.

Strain the stock through a fine mesh sieve, pressing down on the vegetables to get as much of the stock as possible.

Use immediately or store in the fridge for about a week, or freeze.

To make the soup:

Heat the butter in a large stock pot till foamy. Add the shallots and parsley and sauté for 2-3 minutes till soft and translucent. Do not let the shallots color. Add the mushrooms, pepper and salt and continue to sauté till the juices are released, about 4-5 minutes more.

Add the garlic, bread and broth. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a blender till smooth, you can also leave it a bit textured if you prefer.

Add the cream and stir in. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.

To make the balsamic glazed mushrooms:

Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the mushrooms and salt. Sauté on medium heat for about 2 minutes, they should release their liquids. Allow the liquids to dry out and sauté the mushrooms for 1 minute till they are well browned. Flip and sauté for another 45 seconds till the second side is browned.

Add the balsamic and mix well to coat the mushrooms. The balsamic will coat the mushrooms and dry out in about 1 minute. Take off the pan so they do not burn and set aside.

To assemble:

Heat the soup well, do not boil as the cream may split. Ladle into cups or bowls and top with 1-2 mushrooms and a sprinkling of parsley.

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