Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wild Mushroom Soup

I've photographed a moon crater!

Not really, but I did win the mushroom lottery.

This week, I was gifted with delicious wild edible mushrooms. The most interesting one was the giant puffball. It was the size of a volleyball, and from reports I've received, that is a "normal" size puffball.

What do you do with an enormous puffball and approximately one-and-a-half quarts of beautiful wild, flavorful mushrooms? Make soup!

I developed this recipe to work with mushrooms from the grocery store if you don't have a mushroom fairy-godmother like I do. For the puffball, you'll want white, starchy mushrooms like button mushrooms, although you'll probably need to trim the stems. For wild mushrooms I suggested porcini mushrooms but any tan mushrooms will work, even baby bellas.

By using the mushroom puree to thicken, this recipe stays pretty healthy, but more importantly has a prominent but not overbearing mushroom flavor. The fresher the mushrooms, the better this soup will taste. And by fresher, I mean as close to home as possible. Regardless of the source of your mushrooms, be sure to wash them well before cooking.

Ingredients (serves 4)
for a vegetarian recipe, be sure to use vegetable stock instead of beef stock.
for a vegan recipe, use vegetable stock and replace the butter with olive oil.
for a gluten-free recipe, use gluten free stock.
  • 6 Tbsp butter (divided use)
  • 1/2 medium immature giant puffball, chopped, or 2 packages white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 lb or so wild mushrooms, sliced, or porcini mushrooms, sliced
  • 5 cups beef or veggie stock (divided use)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried thyme (use less if ground thyme)

  1. Melt 3 Tbsp butter in a large stockpot over medium heat.
  2. Add puffball / white mushrooms and stir.
  3. When mushrooms are browned, add 1 cup of the stock.
  4. Simmer over low heat 5-10 minutes.
  5. Pour into a separate mixing bowl and puree using an immersion blender. The mixture will be somewhat thick.
  6. Return saucepan to medium heat. Melt remaining 3 Tbsp butter.
  7. Add onion, garlic, and thyme. Saute until onion is translucent.
  8. Add wild / porcini mushrooms. Stir well and cook for about 5 minutes.
  9. Add remaining 4 cups of stock and cook until liquid begins to bubble, about 4-5 minutes.
  10. Turn heat to low. Stir mushroom puree into soup and cook for another minute.
  11. Serve with bread or rolls.
If you make this recipe vegan (replacing the butter with olive oil), you may need to season with salt and pepper. However, with beef stock it was perfectly seasoned for us.

The soup was light but fairly filling. We had it for lunch with some rolls and everyone seemed satiated. I was pleased that because of the lack of cream or milk, the mushroom flavor stood out. After all, why eat mushroom soup that doesn't taste like mushrooms?

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