When my Mom was laid up sick in bed for a few days last week she was craving not a chicken noodle soup, but rather a cream of mushroom soup. Not the famed Campbell's from a can version, but something closer to the velvety perfection she remembered enjoying on a cruise we took together many years ago.
I didn't have that particular chef's recipe handy, but from memory crafted a dish that according to Mom, pretty closely resembles the original. Huzzah! By pureeing the base soup, then adding back some sauteed mushroom at the end I was able to deliver a cream soup with some textural interest. The use of three different kinds of mushrooms along with the addition of leeks and thyme, and the acidity and taste of the wine and sherry brought a depth of flavor that was a perfect compliment to the silkiness of the cream.
What do you all crave when not feeling up to snuff?
Cheers – Steve
- 8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 8 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
- 8 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms
- 1 stick butter, plus extra for sauteeing mushrooms
- 2 leeks, washed and roughly chopped (white and light green parts only)
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme (tied together with kitchen twine), plus 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, divided
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons cream sherry
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- minced fresh parsley for serving
- Brush mushrooms clean with a dry cloth and de-stem them. Slice the caps of the shiitakes and creminis 1/4" thick, and dice the portobello caps into bite sized pieces.
- Coat a large skillet with a slick of EVOO, add a pat of butter and set it over medium-high heat. When the butter stops foaming, add the shiitake caps and season with a little salt and pepper. Saute, stirring frequently until nicely caramelized, 4-5 minutes. Remove shiitakes to a bowl and repeat the process with the cremini slices. Remove them to the same bowl and return the pan to the heat.
- Add the stick of butter to the pan along with the leeks and cook over low-medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the leeks start to brown. Add the portobello pieces and the tied thyme sprigs, and cook for another 10 minutes, until the portobellos have browned as well. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then deglaze with the wine and sherry and let reduce to a slurry.
- Whisk in the stock and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10-15 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs and working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender and process to the desired consistency. Return the soup to a clean pot and add the cream, half and half and thyme leaves. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper as needed and continue to simmer (do not boil) until heated through. Add back the reserved sauteed mushroom caps and serve hot with minced parsley as garnish.