Cream of Mushroom Soup
I make a lot of stuffed mushrooms as party appetizers. Some recipes for stuffed mushrooms use the stems as part of the stuffing but the recipes I generally use don’t. So I end up with lots of perfectly good mushroom stems and I hate to just throw them out. Instead I bag them and toss them in the freezer and once I’ve accumulated a decent amount I make mushroom stock. Once made it can be used as you’d use any sort of stock and I freeze batches so that I have it on hand when needed.
A couple weeks ago I decided it was time to empty all the various bags of mushroom odds and ends from the freezer and I made a very simple stock with them. All I did was put about five or six cups of stems and one large sliced onion in a stockpot, cover it all with water and let it simmer for a couple hours. I don’t add salt or pepper to stock, instead I wait and season it as part of whatever recipe it ends up in.
Once I’d made the stock I used it in a variety of ways – as braising liquid and to flavor emmer – but with the cool, rainy days that have moved in I had cream of mushroom soup on my mind. It’s a very easy recipe to make and the resulting soup is rich and satisfying.
This recipe will make two to three main-dish servings.
Take about 3 cups of mushrooms (I used crimini and chanterelles), 1 large onion peeled and cut into quarters, and one medium size carrot cut into thirds. Toss them all with olive oil, until they are just lightly covered. Spread in an even layer on a baking sheet and then bake for about 30 minutes at 400°F, until the vegetables are fork-tender and caramelized.
Remove from the oven, reserve a few of the vegetables for garnish if you’d like, place about 1/2 of the vegetables in a blender, cover with some of the broth and then blend until smooth and thick. You may need to add additional broth as you are blending. Repeat with the balance of the roasted vegetables. Once you have it all nice and smooth, pour it all into a pot and season with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a woody herb like thyme. A bay leaf or two also adds a nice element of taste.
Heat slowly so that the seasonings have a chance to do their job, add additional broth until the soup is a consistency you like. Once the soup is hot add a couple tablespoons of heavy cream to give it a silky mouth-feel and a little touch of decadence.
Pour into warmed bowls and garnish with the reserved vegetables. I toasted slices of baguette, floated a slice in each bowl and topped the baguette with some of the roasted vegetables and a sprig of thyme.
In case you are wondering, both the onion and the carrot complement the taste of the mushrooms and add a subtle sweetness to the soup. They provide a bit more complexity and interest to the taste but you can certainly just use mushrooms if you’d like.