Makes 4 Servings
Since I almost always have mushrooms, onions, chicken stock and parsley on hand, this delicious and simple-to-make soup is a regular at Kitchen 511. And if there's sherry in the liquor cabinet, even better. My mother loves this soup as much as I do. When I surprised her on her birthday in September, I showed up at the door bearing bags of her favorite food. The ingredients for this recipe were included. I'll sometimes serve it as an appetizer or with salad and a crusty baguette and call it a meal. As usual, I use oil instead of butter, and no one complains. Although Anthony Bourdain might, as this recipe is from his Les Halles cookbook. I've included his "improvisation" below the regular recipe. Stephan loves truffle oil, so I sometimes add it to the soup.
- 6 tablespoons butter (or extra-virgin olive oil)
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 12 oz. button mushrooms (I use whatever variety I've got in the house and will slice them if large)
- 4 cups chicken stock or broth
- 1 sprig flat parsley (I substitute curly if that's all I've got)
- Salt and pepper
- 2 oz. high-quality sherry (don't use the cheap grocery-store variety; it's salty and unappetizing and will ruin your soup)
- In the medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining butter. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn't take on any brown color.
- Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.
- After an hour, remove the parsley and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender's lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?
- When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately.
To astound your guests with a Wild Mushroom Soup, simply replace some of those button mushrooms with a few dried cèpes or morels, which have been soaked until soft, drained, and squeezed. Not too many; the dried mushrooms will have a much stronger taste, and you don't want to overwhelm the soup. Pan sear, on high heat, a single small, pretty, fresh chanterelle or morel for each portion, and then slice into a cute fan and float on top in each bowl.
And if you really want to ratchet your soup into pretentious (but delicious), drizzle a few tiny drops of truffle oil over the surface just before serving.