Friday, March 9, 2012

Serendipitous Double Mushroom Soup

Serendipity. This fabulous soup came from a collision of odds and ends and bits and pieces from the fridge and pantry. On one of our forays to Costco, Chuck and I picked up a giant container of dried mushrooms. A few days ago at the supermarket, I picked up a package of sliced cremini with no plan for them in sight. Garlic and shallots from last years garden. Homemade crème fraîche. There's some quick stock made from last week's rotisserie chicken (remember that?), and well, it's soup, — beautiful, divine homemade mushroom soup. Swoonworthy soup. Velvety soup. Glorious soup.

The goods...

Creamy Double Mushroom Soup
(with or without truffles)
Serves 6

1 oz. dried mushrooms
boiling water
8 oz. cremini or portobello mushrooms, sliced thin
2T olive oil
2 large shallots, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp marjoram
1/4 cup dry sherry
(black truffle salt, 1/2 tsp. in place of regular salt)
2-1/2 cups strong, room temp. low sodium or unsalted chicken stock
1/2 cup crème fraîche
fresh ground black pepper
Black truffle oil to drizzle
chives for garnish

Rinse the dried mushrooms, and place the them in a large heat-proof bowl and cover with boiling water, it could take up to a quart or so. Let soak for 15 minutes. In a deep sauteuse or a broad saucepan, heat the oil, and add the fresh mushrooms, shallots and garlic, and saute on medium until softened.

Scoop the rehydrated mushrooms from the bowl, squeeze out as much liquid as you can back into the bowl, and then roughly chop the mushrooms and add to the mushroom mixture in the pan. Add the mushroom soaking liquid, all except for the residue at the bottom of the bowl as that may be gritty. Add the thyme, marjoram and a pinch of salt or the truffle salt if using.

Cook until the dried mushrooms are soft.

Bring to a low boil, and let cook, covered until the dried mushrooms are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes, then uncover and boil until nearly all the liquid has disappeared, about 10 minutes. Add the sherry and the black pepper, and cook for a couple of minutes until the sherry is mostly gone. There should be only a tablespoon or two of liquid in the pan.

The liquid is almost gone, and the scent is intoxicating!

Transfer the mushroom mixture to a blender, and wash the cooking pan. Add the chicken stock to the blender, cover tightly and blend until smooth. You could just add the stock to the soup pot and use a stick blender, but it won't be as smooth. Pour the soup back into the clean pot, whisk in the crème fraîche, heat to serving temperature and taste for seasoning. add salt and/ or pepper as needed.

Serve in small portions, drizzled with a tiny bit of black truffle oil and garnish with chives. Makes 6 servings.

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