Chunky Mushroom Soup

 

Cream of mushroom soup.  Sounds kinda dull. Everyday.  Nothin special… but when you make it from scratch and you use wild mushrooms it becomes extraordinary and quite memorable. I have made this soup before but this time I had several kinds of wild shrooms to use which amped up the flavor quotient.  I posted a picture on a facebook mushroom id group and got a lot of likes and a request for the recipe so I thought it could be my next post; why type it up just for that one or two folks who asked it; better to share it on my blog for my peeps!

My amounts are somewhat flexible; can use less or more cream, can use store mushrooms. What ever you want. My local farmer’s market has a vendor who sells wild mushrooms; another good source for your ingredients.  Just be sure you know the variety of mushrooms and that every shroom is safe and edible! Use what ever dairy you like. I have used a range of choices in the past.  This time I went with half and half and whole milk.  If you want to chop the mushrooms finer; go for it; you can even puree it but I much prefer it a bit chunky.

We ate outside by candlelight last night and I didn’t bother with a picture of it in the soup bowl due to the light conditions; tonight I will update this post with one of those shots taken in the kitchen! PS: I found most of the shrooms we picked; I am good at it! Joe is much better at identifying; I am a beginner and he is pretty expert at it. It is fun to do together.

Chunky Wild Mushroom Soup

Makes almost 2 quarts.

Ingredients:

  • 15-16 ounces assorted wild mushrooms, chopped coarsely

1 cup yellow onion, chopped

4 Tbsp. butter, divided

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 carrot chopped in small cubes

1 large shallot chopped small cubes (about 1/2 cup)

2 Tbsp. white rice flour

6-8 stems fresh thyme

1 cup dry white wine (I used a dry Riesling)

1.5 tsp. sea salt and ¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper or white pepper

1 cup chicken broth

2 cups vegetable broth (or more chicken broth)

1 cup half and half or light cream

½ cup whole milk

1-2 Tbsp. chopped garlic or regular chives

Sprinkle of fresh parsley (I used dried as my parsley plant has bit the dust)

Directions; chop the ingredients so everything is ready. I like my mushrooms chunky but cut them how you like to eat them. Heat the olive oil and half the butter in a large heavy bottomed sauce pan; mine is copper; about 4 quarts. Add the onion, sauté on medium for 4-5 minutes until softened, add the shallots and stir for a minute. Add the flour; stir and cook for a minute. Add the wine, stir and cook a minute. Add the mushrooms and stir for 5-7 minutes until they soften, then add fresh thyme, broths and a tsp of sea salt and some fresh ground pepper. Cook 15-20 minutes on medium.  You want all the veggies to be soft and fully cooked but not mushy. Add the cream and milk, stir well; heat; do Not boil.  While it heats add the finely chopped chives, I used garlic ones and add parsley. I have a five tined scissors for herbs; it chops them perfectly right into the soup. Taste and add more salt if needed.  mushrooms soup

Notes; if you are not gluten free use all purpose flour. If it is too thick add more milk.  It does thicken on standing. I used a blend of honey brown mushrooms, hen of the woods, chicken of the woods and just a speck of chanterelle in my soup this time. A mixture really is nice for a full flavor. Use whatever mushrooms you like. If you want it richer use heavy cream instead of half and half. You can add more butter if you like but I find it quite rich just like I make it.  I pluck out the stems of the thyme when it is cooked; the tiny leaves fall off into the stew; you can remove the leaves from the stems before cooking if you prefer to do that.  You can replace the shallot with leek if you prefer.

This is a rough adaptation from a recipe from Food Network, by Ina Garten – I simplified it quite a bit. And I cut back on the butter, flour and dairy.  I used different mushrooms and made it gluten free as that is my life these days! Enjoy!

 

 

Pasta Perfection: Fettuccine with Shrooms

A great pasta dish is a gem to keep in your culinary pocket for future use.  This recipe has been a favorite of mine for a long time.  Only detriment is that I could never get the sauce thick enough. It was always on the edge of runny no matter how long I reduced it down.  I made it this week and one ingredient change made a huge difference. Instead of a can of whole tomatoes in thin juice that you break up before cooking, I used a can of crushed whole tomatoes with thick sauce. So, I started with a thicker tomato product and that really changed the sauce results. This is an easy dish to compile. I usually use baby bella mushrooms but pretty much any type will do. This time it was plain old white mushrooms sliced thickly.  Do not slice them thin; just not meaty tasting then. Sometimes I quarter the small bellas for this; but I do think thick sliced is my favorite cut.

The dish may seem simple in flavor but it is a delightful balance of all these fresh ingredients. The original recipe came from “Italy Al Dente” by Biba Caggiano with some small changes by me. This cookbook is hands down my favorite Italian cooking bible; so many great pasta recipes plus super soups and wonderful risottos.  Even has polenta recipes.  Highly recommend getting it if you cook Italian often.

Notes: use the best EVOL you have for this; it seems like a lot of oil but it combines with the tomatoes and cream to make a luxurious creamy sauce.

Fettuccine with Mushrooms in Creamy Sauce, 4 servings

Ingredients

3-4 Tbsp. EVOL

½ lb. fresh mushrooms like baby bellas, shiitake, white buttons, cleaned

Half a big red pepper cut in large dice

1/3 lb. pancetta or prosciutto (I have used either; this time pancetta from Aldi’s already diced)

1 garlic clove minced

4-5 shredded fresh sage leaves

1 28 oz can Italian tomatoes, crushed in thick sauce

¼ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Fettuccine; most or all of a 12 oz box of dried gf pasta cooked until barely al dente. Cook while the sauce thickens; try to time it so it gets done when you have added the cream to the sauce.

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large skillet, add the mushrooms which you have thickly sliced.  Stir and cook about 3 minutes until they turn golden. Add the red pepper, pancetta, garlic and fresh sage (can use parsley but sage is so great in this sauce) and stir for a minute.  Add t he tomatoes and season with some salt/pepper. Once it reaches boiling, turn down and simmer about 10 minutes; it should thicken a bit. Stir a few times as it cooks. Add the cream, stir and simmer 2-5 more minutes. Do not boil. Turn off heat and add hot pasta, Stir a minute or two. Double check whether you need more salt/pepper and serve.

pasta plated with mushroom sauce

The original recipe didn’t have the red pepper but I think it is a great addition; leave it out if you don’t care for red pepper. Enjoy!

Mushroom and Corn Risotto

I made this fabulous risotto, perfect in September when there still is fresh local sweet corn and mushrooms like chanterelles are available. You can buy lovely mushrooms at the Hellertown Farmer’s Market on Sunday mornings, or in most grocery stores. I used my mini wok to do most of this recipe.

There is no cheese in this recipe.  I suppose you could add some but it isn’t necessary.  If you used veggie broth this would be vegetarian and if you use Earth Balance instead of butter; vegan.  I just found it to have an amazing depth of flavor.  Worth every bit of effort.

mushroom risotto

Mushroom and Corn Risotto, serves 4-5

3 tbsp. butter divided

1 tsp. olive oil

8 ounces chanterelle mushrooms or other wild mushrooms

1 large shallot; diced small

1 ear of sweet corn

1 medium yellow onion finely chopped

1 cup Arborio rice

½ cup vermouth or dry white wine

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

2 minced garlic cloves

1-2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or chervil

Directions: Heat large saucepan (I use my mini wok) and add 2 tbsp. butter and oil, melt butter and add mushrooms which you have chopped, cook 2 minutes; add shallots and cook 2-3 minutes, and turn out into a bowl. Cook one ear sweet corn about 7 minutes; I steamed mine in a frying pan with ¼ inch water in the pan.  Let cool and then chop off all the kernels, add to mushrooms. Heat the chicken broth in a saucepan until hot but not boiling.

To the pan you sautéed mushrooms in: add 1 tbsp. butter and then the chopped onion once the butter melts.  Cook 4 minutes, add garlic and rice and cook 1 minute, add wine and cook 1 minute, add chicken broth one ladle full at a time.  Stir after adding each ladle and stir a couple times as it cooks.  When the broth is mostly absorbed add another ladle. When I add the first ladle I set my timer for 16 minutes. When the 16 minutes have elapsed add the sautéed mushrooms, shallot and corn kernels, also salt and pepper. Stir well and cook 2-3 minutes. Stir frequently and taste it; can cook another minute if necessary (total of 20 minutes for the dish once rice added.) Turn it off and then add the herbs, stir and serve.

Notes: risotto seems like it will be difficult and a bother but you can probably do other things as it cooks; just keep an eye on it and stir the pan whenever you can to redistribute the broth so it soaks into the rice; at least every other minute. The slow absorption of the broth causes the rice to swell and cook perfectly.  You must use Arborio rice for risotto; no other rice will work.  You could use red onions if you like instead of yellow. If you want it creamy you can add ¼ to ½ cup milk when you add the corn into the risotto. Maybe I will do that next time.

You can use any sort of mushrooms you like. I had lovely wild chanterelles and honey mushrooms. The flavor of this risotto was out of this world.  Without the cheese most risotto has it was lighter and seemed to melt in my mouth in a delicate explosion of flavor.  Definitely the best risotto I have ever made and I honestly make risotto regularly as my starch accompaniment to a main protein.

This recipe is from “The Mushroom Lover’s Mushroom Cookbook” by Amy Farges with minor changes.