Friday, November 14, 2008

Cream of Mushroom Soup From Memory

I have an addiction to the Food Network. If Nic wasn't ferociously defending the remote control, it is the only channel I would watch. I don't like all the shows--a certain perky lady that adores acronyms kind of gets to me--but shows like Iron Chef and Good Eats absolutely enthrall me. I get mad when someone changes the channel during the commercial.

But even though I watch a lot of cooking shows, I almost never make anything I see made. I don't know why. I take some of the general advice I get on the shows, like Alton Brown's explanation of why brining makes meat more juicy, but I never feel compelled to make what I see made. Until this mushroom soup.

To be honest, if I hadn't found out my parents were coming to visit with only 24 hours notice, I probably would have never made this either. Without ample menu-planning time, I panicked. I had nothing prepped so I had to make whatever it was I was going to serve after work. And I had to buy anything I needed on the way home. I had the recipe for apple pizza lying around from when I searched for every recipe requiring apples known to man after coming home with 20 pounds of apples a few weeks ago. But apple pizza does not qualify as a meal. My solution to foods that don't quite cut it as a meal is usually to add a mixed green salad with a bunch of junk on top. But even with the salad this was looking pretty shabby. Then I remembered watching Barefoot Contessa a few days earlier, and she made this awesome cream of mushroom soup that didn't look too hard to make. A quick search later, and I had the recipe. I gathered my belongings from my cube and left work to go grocery shopping.

Two metro stops later I realized I forgot the recipe. And if you remember from earlier posts, my apartment=Internet dead zone. So I had to recreate it from memory. The good news is I didn't forget any major components and the soup was really delicious. It was creamy without being overwhelmingly rich, and I was surprised how flavorful the stock turned out. Nic apparently doesn't like mushrooms (who knew?), but he ate two bowls. But you are probably starting to think that all I ever make is soup.

Cream of Mushroom Soup
What I remembered from this recipe

5 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 oz. fresh baby portobello mushrooms
5 oz. fresh cremini mushrooms
glug of olive oil
1/2 lb. butter (1 stick)
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 carrots, chopped
handful of fresh thyme
kosher salt
black pepper
2 leeks, chopped (dark green tops removed)
2 tbs. flour
1 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream

-Wipe the mushrooms with a damp paper towel. Do not submerge them in water; they will get tough. Remove the stems and set aside the caps. Roughly chop the stems.
-Stock: Heat a glug of olive oil in a large pot. Add the mushroom stems, onion, carrot, and thyme. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables soften. Add 6 cups of water and bring the stock to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for 30-45 minutes or until the stock tastes flavorful. Strain and reserve the liquid and return just the liquid to the pot. You should have 4 cups of stock. (Add some water if you have less.)
-While the stock is cooking, in a large saute pan melt the stick of butter. Add the leeks and cook over medium low heat until the leeks start to soften and brown, about 15 minutes. Slice the mushroom caps in1/4 inch slices. Add the sliced caps to the browned leeks. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom-leek mixture and stir to combine. Cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Let the mixture sit on low heat until the stock is cooked.
-Add the mushroom-leek mixture, then the the half-and-half and the cream to the pot with the stock. Salt and pepper to taste. Heat through, but don't let the soup boil.


johanna said...

kate: did you discard the shitake stems? i have to say that your photography is fabulous. it looks so professional--have you ever taken classes? what were you for halloween, BTW--saw the pasta fagioli blog and it reminded me.

Kate said...

I used the shiitake stems in the broth, then I discarded them with the other vegetables when I drained the broth. Glad you like the pictures! and I was at home for Halloween.