Friday, January 2, 2015

Recipe #43: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup with Brandy & Fresh Nutmeg

My late husband always said mushrooms tasted like the erasers on top of pencils.  I always thought more so with snails.  I think he would have had a greater appreciation for mushrooms if he had ever tried escargot.  Years ago, mushroom soup was primarily made of white button mushrooms.  Today, we have such a vast selection to choose from, but with that selection also comes the price tag.  I use four kinds of mushrooms in this soup, though the bigger balance being the domestic white mushroom, for financial reasons.  The brandy gives this soup depth, without being overpowering.  Please try's really a no-brainer to make.

4 oz each shiitake and cremini mushrooms                  1 medium Portobello mushroom
6 oz white mushrooms                                                       1 shallot, sliced
1 leek, white part and some of the green                        6 tbsp butter
    quartered, rinsed and sliced                                         2 tbsp flour
2-3 cups chicken stock, depending on thick                  1 cup half and half, mixed with 1 tbsp flour
    you like your soup                                                           1/2 cup brandy
salt and pepper                                                                    1/8 tsp fresh ground nutmeg*

*you can buy fresh nutmeg in the bulk section of the grocery store, and use any small grater or microplane to really makes a difference...

Brush mushrooms clean of all dirt.   Scrape out gills from the portobello with a spoon.  Trim all ends and slice mushrooms.  Set aside.  In a very large, heavy saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.  When hot, add the shallot and leek and saute, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 15 minutes.  Add all the mushrooms and saute, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5-7 minutes.  Add the flour and stir for a few minutes until fully incorporated into the mushrooms.  Gradually pour in the chicken stock, stirring until fully mixed with the mushrooms.  Raise heat to medium high and add half and half, stirring until mixture thickens and soup just comes to a boil.  Reduce heat, add salt, pepper, nutmeg and brandy.  Simmer on low for about 20 minutes.  At this point, I take a few cups and put in my Nutribullet to liquefy, then put back into the pot.  You don't have to do this if you want a very chunky soup, or you can do it with the whole thing if you want a totally creamy soup.  Bon appetit!

you can see all the different kinds of mushrooms...

 from left...white mushrooms, cremini, shiitake, portebello

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