Saturday, September 10, 2011

In the Kitchen - Wild Mushroom Soup

I was so excited about our wild mushroom walk that I went home and made a wild mushroom soup (from fungi purchased at the market of course). I didn't use a specific recipe but was pleasantly surprised by how delicious it turned out nonetheless. Unlike other dishes, I rarely follow recipes when it comes to making soups because the way I see it, as long as you use enough flavor components, chances are the end result will be tasty no matter what you decide to throw into the pot. In fact I like to imagine that the first soups were invented so that the farmer could stretch and use up whatever leftover food was lying around. How else to explain the fact that you can name almost any ingredient - say cabbage, for instance - and find a soup recipe calling for it.

On this occasion I decided to use fresh shitake, oyster and button mushrooms and dried porcini and wood ear mushrooms. I soaked the dried mushrooms in some warm water, and then when they were plump, strained the flavorful liquid through a coffee filter. I began by sauteing a good amount of chopped onions, shallots, garlic and thyme in some olive oil. Then I added all of the mushrooms, which I had sliced. As they released their liquid, I deglazed the pan with some dry white wine and then added several cups of chicken stock. In a separate pan, I made a light brown rue using equal parts flour and homemade butter, into which I vigorously whisked in some chicken stock and the reversed mushroom liquid until I had something that resembled a thick gravy. This was then added to the soup, stirring as you do so. (Incorporating the rue in this way helps to prevent lumps.)

I let the soup simmer for about a half hour and then seasoned it with some salt, pepper and sugar. Sugar, like salt, is a great flavor enhancer. Adding a teaspoon or two into the pot greatly enhances an otherwise "flat" tasting soup broth. Finally, I finished the soup with a bit of local cream before serving.

This soup was deliciously earthy and really satisfied this mushroom lover.


  1. Your soup looks great. Thanks for the tips on how to make homemade soup! :)

  2. Oh it looks and sounds delicious! I love mushrooms...and mushroom soup. Panera had a bisque a few years back that I've tried to emulate a few times. I haven't quite "got it" but won't stop trying!

  3. Gorgeous! I can almost smell it...

  4. That sounds like it was heavenly. My mom always made soup on Sunday. She called it the "use everything left in the fridge" soup and it was different every week - used up the odds and ends of veggies that needed using, the bits of pieces of leftover dinner meats, etc. Sometimes it was an earthy steak and potatoe and veggies combo, sometimes it was chicken noodle with some peas etc, and other times variations of ham and bean etc. She would start it up mid morning and it was the Sunday lunch menu. We had a large family so feeding all of us was always a challenge - but this seemed like a really practical and frugal way to put the bits and pieces to work and it was always delicious. :D

  5. Son, that is some fine-looking soup!