Thursday, September 25, 2008

Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup For The Barefoot Bloggers


This week's Barefoot Blogger challenge had me on firmer ground than the mac 'n' cheese or the turnover challenges - wild mushroom soup is something I know and love and have prepared many times before. In fact it is one of my favourite dinner party soups so I felt confident that this was going to go well.

The challenge was chosen by Chelle of Brown-Eyed Baker, and promised to be a nice change from some of the other Barefoot cooking we have been doing. Unfortunately (sorry Chelle), I wound up having a few unexpected issues with the recipe:
- sadly I couldn't find cremini or porcini mushrooms fresh around here (you usually only see them dried and they cost about the same as a tank of petrol), so I substituted swiss brown mushrooms for the cremini.
-my mushrooms also came caked in a little mud, and since I have had gritty mushroom soup before (not something that I would recommend), I disregarded the first instruction and rinsed them under running water. Unfortunately, I think that having the wrong mushrooms and then rinsing may have impacted the flavour of the soup.
- I used a lot less butter (2 tbls) in cooking the leeks than Ina recommends, but I think this was OK - the leeks and mushrooms all cooked and browned nicely.
- I used only half the cream Ina recommends - I was worried the soup's flavour would be completely overwhelmed by the cream unless I held back a little.
- While I followed the recipe, I generally don't like to thicken soups with flour, and with so much cream in the recipe, I suspect the soup would have quite thick without the flour.
- Once I had finished cooking, my soup had a little bit of oil rising to the surface. I tried to skim this off but could not get rid of all of it. You can see it around the edge of the bowl in the photo - not sure what I did wrong there??

Enough moaning - the flavour of the soup was good, and darling husband who loves cream of mushroom soup declared that it was "delish". I, however, will be sticking to my favourite recipe for mushroom soup which is similar to Ina's but with a lot less cream. You can see how the other members of the Barefoot Bloggers went here.

Wild Mushroom Soup
from The Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten

150g fresh shiitake mushrooms
150g fresh portobello mushrooms
150g fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half (half milk and half cream)
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if they are too big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 125g of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.

23 comments:

webbie said...

Sorry you had so much trouble with this recipe. It looks great, though.

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

You may have the only mushroom-eating man on the planet. Lucky!!! ;)

Suzie said...

I regret sounding so grumpy in my post!!! Note to self - no writing at 5:30am. Sorry!

Debinhawaii said...

I had a little oil on the sides of my bowl too--so I don't think you did anything wrong at all. Sorry it wasn't your favorite recipe.

Prudy said...

I'd love to get your favorite recipe too. Are you planning to post it?

Cathy said...

Your soup looks wonderful! We loved it too, although I made it full-fat and honestly could not quite get past the nagging thoughts about how much fat I was consuming. I'd love to hear about your favorite, lighter version sometime!

Bellini Valli said...

I have not been a huge fan of mushroom soup in the past so had nothing to compare this too. "Newbie" mushroom lovers like my daughter and I thoroughly enjoyed this soup together:D

Mary Ann said...

It looks wonderful to me, even though I don't like mushrooms! I agree, this was one rich recipe!

Natashya said...

Sorry that the soup was not your fave. Something for everyone, I guess - next month will have something you love - I am sure.
Glad your hubby liked it though.

Maria said...

The recipe looks very rich. I would like a lighter version. I am sure it is very tasty though! Maybe a "treat" soup:)

Summer said...

It looks lovely! I had a little oil on the top of mine as well, I thought it was all the butter.

Laura said...

Your soup looks fantastic! I tried to lighten mine up too and had that same issue with the oil, but I could hardly tell by your photo - nice job!

Cynthia's Blog said...

You can't win them all. I figure there have to be good substitutes for the fat in a recipe too.

Esi said...

It looks great with the changes. I think most people agreed that this could have been lighter, but overall it was delicious.

Megan said...

The mushrooms sure can be expensive. But I really liked the soup. At least you a gave it a go and it reinforced your taste for the tried and true recipe you use. I didn't think you sounded grumpy at all. :)

Meryl said...

Don't stress about rinsing the mushrooms. There's an episode of Alton Brown where he weighs mushrooms both before and after washing them--they really don't suck up any of the water. It's a culinary myth!

1freshstart said...

Aww, sorry you had troubles. I firmly believe that if you've found your go-to recipe for some things, you should totally stick to it, and make a few changes as necessary. Glad you liked it, but isn't it nice to know that you still like your go-to better?
~Cat

Tanya said...

I had the oily surface on my soup as well. I think you can see this in everyone's photos. Your soup looks great though! I'm glad I made a lighter version as well!

Christine said...

Your soup looks wonderful! Would love to know what your favorite recipe is!

Aggie said...

I think your soup looks great...I lightened mine up too. I had to, I think I gained 20 pounds just reading the recipe! : )

Shandy said...

I love your soup and how you went with the flow. Sometimes, ingredients just are not available for us. I think your creamy mushroom soup looks wonderful but now I am curious what your own mushroom soup contains for ingredients? =D

Cynthia's Blog said...

I think the reason you might have had oil rising to the surface was because you chose not to use the flour to make the roux. (just a guess). Sometimes mushrooms are so filthy you have no choice but to wash. Maybe they had a hard time absorbing the butter Ina wrote into her recipe?

Linds said...

I felt the same way about this recipe....and like you, also had a problem with excess oil rising to the top. I couldn't figure out why either since it seemed to combine while coooking....