Archive for December 7th, 2010

get the meal started

A few weeks ago, I made my first shabbat dinner in months. Many, many months. I  fretted about the burnt chicken, the apple-pear galette that cracked, the salad poorly dressed. But the one thing I could rely on was the mushroom soup. It’s the absolute essence of mushroom. And the recipe is little more than sautéeing several handfuls of sliced mushrooms with shallots, throwing together a roux to thicken things up a bit, and adding broth and sherry. Then a quick buzz with an immersion blender and voilà — creamy thick mushroom soup. Garnish with a few chives and we’re ready to get the meal started.


Mushroom Soup

Makes a lot, but our party of 5 finished the entire pot. Probably should serve up to 8.

I adapted this from two wild mushroom soups – one from Levana Kirschbaum and one from Carole Sobell. I left out Levana’s soy milk, but added her sherry and used flour instead of Sobell’s cornstarch. I kept her thyme as well, but dropped the saffron. I kept Sobell’s simplicity and her chives turned the soup from good to spectacular with just a hint of bite and sharpness.

2 cloves garlic

– 6 shallots

– 3 T margarine

– 2.5 lbs assorted mushrooms (I used a mix of white button and cremini) – about 4-5 cups

– several branches of thyme

– 1/3 C flour

– 5 C vegetable (or chicken) broth

– 1 C dry sherry (I used Tio Pepe Zerez Palomino Fino) or vermouth

– chives

Prep. There’s a lot of chopping going on here. Finely hop the garlic and shallots fine. Clean and slice the mushrooms any which way you want.

Sauté. Melt the margarine in a big soup pot. Sauté the garlic and shallots over low heat until translucent (try not to let them color). Add the mushrooms and thyme and continue to sauté for another 8-10 minutes or so. Add the flour to the pot and cook for 2-3 minutes, mixing to make sure there are no lumps. Add broth and sherry and simmer for ~15 minutes. Remove the thyme branches, which by now should be bare of leaves. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Blend. Whip the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. You can also pass the soup through a sieve, but I didn’t bother.

Serve. Ladle into bowls and snip a few chives over top.

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