I decided to make a somewhat nicer dinner today, being Valentine ’s Day and all. Truth be told, the meal was not even the slightest bit more difficult than my everyday-dinners but we had a soup and dessert course so the sheer amount of food was greater. This proves slightly problematic when you do not yet own your dream kitchen with a double cooking surface and 2 wall ovens. Anywho, tonight I made a mushroom soup; lamb chops au poivre with mashed and green beans tossed with garlic and pine nuts; and homemade ice cream sandwiches.
For this post, I’ll stick to the soup. I have never made a mushroom soup before, so I decided to give it a shot and just make up my own recipe. Most of my soups start out in one of two ways: mirepoix (carrots, celery and onions), or sauteed (or caramelized) onions eventually deglazed with some type of booze. I decided to go with the latter and work from there. This was very simple and flavorful. Earthy and creamy and delicious! Of course, if you want to make this vegetarian, just use veggie broth.
3 tbsp. butter
1 small onion, chopped or a large shallot
1 lb. assorted mushrooms, chopped (I used cremini, oyster, white button, shiitake)
2 sprigs (leaves) fresh thyme or probably about ½ tsp dried
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup dry sherry
3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
1 cup beef broth or mushroom broth
1/2 cup half and half or heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in large stockpot/saucepan. Add onions and cook until tender over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, thyme, and garlic. Continue cooking over medium-low until mushrooms brown (do not add salt) and most of the moisture they’ve released has evaporated, about 15-20 minutes.
Add sherry. Switch heat to medium-high and cook until sherry is reduced by at least half, about 3 minutes.
Add broths. Simmer for about 20-30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add half and half or cream and heat through over medium-low, about 5 minutes.
If you like a chunky soup, serve as is. If you like it smooth, puree with an immersion blender or food processor. If you are like me and like something in between, do what I did: put a couple ladlefuls of the soup into a processor and pulse process. Re-add back to the soup and let it thicken slightly.