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.