Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Sliced Mushrooms
I have several delicious mushroom soup recipes. This one is the easiest, a great soup for a chilly autumn night. A food processor helps with the preparation, and keep in mind that many grocery stores sell vegetables already sliced or chopped, a big timesaver. (I sometimes use a 12-oz. bag of baby carrots, but don’t be tellin’ the neighbors.)

This soup has the closest taste to a gorgeous bowl of mushroom soup I enjoyed in front of a peat fire one winter in a pub in Killarney. Ingredient amounts aren’t critical, so feel free to experiment. Makes a great first course or light supper. For a vegan version, substitute oil or veggie butter for unsalted butter, use vegetable broth, and omit the cream.

4 Tbs. unsalted butter                                1 bay leaf
5-6 carrots, peeled and chopped              1 tsp. salt
1 medium onion, chopped                         A good grinding of white pepper
1 leek, white and light green parts,         ¼ cup heavy cream
   washed, trimmed, and chopped           ¼ cup dry sherry
2 stalks celery, chopped                             Chopped parsley or chives
2 lbs. sliced white mushrooms                 Garlicky croutons, if desired
2 tsps. dried thyme                                     Truffle oil for the table, if desired
6 cups chicken stock

1. Melt the butter in an 8-quart soup pot. Roughly chop the carrots, leek, onion, and celery and sauté in the butter until softened but not browned, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in the mushrooms and thyme. Cook 3-5 minutes, until mushrooms start to soften and give off their liquid. Add the chicken broth, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer about 30 minutes.

3. Discard the bay leaf and purée the soup in several batches, transferring soup to clean pot. Stir in cream and sherry and adjust seasoning. Serve with desired garnish(es) and pass truffle oil at the table. Serves 6.

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