I asked our Facebook followers for their favourite soups and got a whole bunch of great ideas but the one I couldn't stop thinking about was John Crossingham's suggestion of wild mushroom. Of course once I was at the grocery store they didn't have wild mushrooms so I went with a mix. You could really use any mushrooms, I would just say don't make this with only white buttons as they have the least flavour. I love the earthiness of this soup — the combination of mushrooms and thyme is perfect for the fall weather that seems to be settling in. Esme loved it and said it was even better than the broccoli soup I made a few days ago. I think she was mostly impressed because I served it to her in a tea cup. Ah, marketing.… We had this as a starter — a rarity around these parts — but it would make a nice lunch on its own. And tomorrow it will.
Oh, a quick note. I have always read — and believed — that washing mushrooms would ruin them. That they would absorb the water and become soggy. Apparently that's hogwash. The new special edition of Gourmet (have you picked it up? very nice) says they tested water absorption of mushrooms versus, say, asparagus and it was identical. I'm kind of bummed — I do love my mushroom brush. Oh, well, back to soup.
Easy Mushroom Soup
3 1/2 cups low sodium stock — chicken or vegetable
dried Porcini mushrooms (the package I bought was .7 grams)
1 onion chopped
1 glug olive oil
5 Portobello mushrooms cleaned, stemmed and sliced
13 Shitake mushrooms cleaned, stemmed and sliced
12 Cremini mushrooms cleaned, stemmed and sliced
3 cloves of garlic minced
3 teaspoons fresh thyme (a bit less if using dried)
2 1/2 cups milk (we use 2% but you could go with a lower fat)
salt and pepper to taste
Bring chicken stock to the boil and add porcini mushrooms. Take off the heat and allow the mushrooms to steep for about 20 minutes.
Sautee the onions in olive oil in a large pot for about five minutes until they soften. Add the garlic, thyme and mushrooms and sautee for another 10 or so minutes. It will take a minute or two for the mushrooms soften and kind of crumple in the pot so that you can stir them properly.
Strain the porcinis and reserve the stock. Add the porcinis to the other mushrooms and allow to cook for a couple of minutes. Add the stock and the milk and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
Remove the pot from heat. In small batches puree the mixture in a blender until smooth(ish). Pour the batches of pureed soup into a bowl until the pot is empty. Pour it back into the bowl, heat gently and serve. Tinkerbell was also a fan of the mushroom soup. Who knew?