Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

This week's recipe for Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup was chosen by Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker. I love mushrooms, and sometimes prefer a nice grilled portobello over a good steak, so I was thrilled by this selection. The week I made this, I decided to go straight to Whole Foods to do my weekly shopping, because I was not sure that my beloved Publix would be able to fulfill my wild mushroom needs for the week, and I really don't like going to multiple grocery stores. As it turned out, Whole Foods was not able to meet my licensed-character fruit treat needs for the week, so I ended up back at Publix anyway.

The recipe started with a stock made with mushroom stems, yellow onions, carrots and thyme. Oh, how the aroma of the stock vegetables filled the kitchen with the earthy, fragrant scents of fall!

It almost made me forget that it was 93 degrees outside. I wish that they made "Mushroom Stock" in a scented candle, because the reality is that I probably won't make this soup very often, even though hubs and I both loved it.

Once the stock was done, it was time to get to work on the major non-liquid components of the soup, namely, leeks and wild mushrooms. I bought two ginormous, tree-like leeks at Whole Foods. Note how they dwarf my cutting board.

I then battled the leeks, and the leeks won. Any leek farmers reading out there? Please consider sending instruction manuals with your stalks. Thanks.

Mmmmm, mmmm . . . feast your eyes on all that buttery leekness. Or should that be "leeky butterness?"

Ina is many wonderful things -- multi-talented, hugely successful, genuinely likeable. But afraid of butter and cream, she is not.

The soup was lovely. It had a complex mixture of flavors, and somehow managed to be both delicate and uber-rich at the same time (perhaps the white wine and cream combo?)

Please check the Barefoot Bloggers blogroll to see an attractive picture of this soup. I would hate for you to not make it just because of my ugly picture, and there are so many super-talented food photographers out there who have no doubt captured its creamy, wild mushroomy, soupy essence much better than I ever could. I tried, I really did. I even broke out the fine china in my attempt. But while I adore this food blogging thing, I am still a really, really bad photographer. Maybe Santa Claus will bring me an SLR camera and some photography lessons (I better start writing my letter!), but in the meantime, you should look elsewhere for the photographs. Phew, I feel so much better getting that off my chest.

This would be a special occasion soup for us, a soup I'd make for an appetizer course at a sit-down dinner party in the cool weather months. We have three small kids, however, and most of our friends have little ones as well, so most dinner parties that we throw (a) are not sit-down dinners, to put it mildly (b) might just involve breaking out the dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets for the kiddies; and (c) will most definitely involve squeezing ketchup into the ears of a Zoo Pals plate:
A soup this exquisite would be offended that we invited it to such a low-brow gathering. We're sort of in that very casual "big pot 'o chili" phase in our lives right now. I am confident that we WILL get to the "soup course" phase in our lives someday, and when we do, I will run-not-walk straight to this recipe.

2006, Barefoot Contessa at Home, All Rights Reserved

5 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
5 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
5 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
1 tablespoon good olive oil
1/4 pound (1 stick) plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 teaspoon minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems, trim off any bad parts, and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if there are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onion, carrot, the sprig of thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 6 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 4 1/2 cups of stock. If not, add some water.

Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/4 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for another minute, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add the mushroom stock, minced thyme leaves, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.


Laura said...

Cathy, I am ROFL! As soon as I got to the dinner party part and the kids' meal preference (see my post for reference).

I love that you broke out the fine china for this and I think your soup looks fabulous! I didn't think mine was very photogenic at all, but gosh it was tasty.

Andrea said...

You have me laughing again Cathy, in that sympathetic laugh, the -yeah, I totally get it, thanks for making it funny - laugh. I'm so looking forward to the "soup course" phase! I think your soup looks great, nice and full of leeks and mushrooms, makes me kind of wish I left the leeks in the soup part instead of the stock.

bakingwiththeboys said...

My kids love those zoo pals plates! I haven't gotten to this soup yet but hope to tonight or over the weekend. You make it sound worth it.

Prudy said...

Hilarious through and through. My kids wouldn't touch the stuff, but I did take a bit and convert it to cream of corn-of course before adding the offending shrooms and the kids ate it all up. I think your soup looks gorgeous, much better than dinosaur chicken in my 37 year old book, and let me know if they ever sell that candle.

Maria said...

Your soup turned out great! Glad you used your fine china...although I like the zoo plates just as much..ha!

Suzie said...

Your soup looks lovely - and you can put me down for the photography classes too! I am constantly amazed by some of the photos produced by this group.

Jamie said...

That soup looks amazing! Your posts always crack me up! :)

Anne said...

I love the part about the fruit snacks and the sit down dinners- we certainly have those things in common! My son would love those plates, I should get him some. And then ship him off to a babysitters so we can really have a nice sit down soup dinner! :)

PS Tell your Santa to get you a Nikon DSLR- you'll never go back to a point and shoot!

Mary Ann said...

Gotta love Zoo pals! Your soup looks fabulous! I miss Publix! (I used to live in GA)
You are seriously cracking me up!
The soup did smell wonderful.

webbie said...

Your pics are great! And I love your fine china for the soup! I agree that this is a very "adult" meal.

Teanna said...

That soup looks amazing! I just wanted to let you know that I thanked you on my blog for the award that you gave me! It was so sweet, and thank you again!!!

Jess said...

Ahh, zoo pals...that's what we call our "entertaining" dishes around here. The prep shots make the soup look great - now I know I have to try it as soon as it starts raining this weekend.

Summer said...

I think your picture look lovely. I agree that leeks are a pain. I cheated and used pre-cleaned ones.

Meryl said...

:) The animal plates totally made me giggle. And I agree with you that the stock smelled amazing!

Flourchild said...

Your soup looks great. I love this time of year, the weather is cool and crisp and nothing is better than a hot cup of soup!

Natashya said...

I think your soup looks just fine. I am a mushroom lover too. Glad you enjoyed this week's pick as much as we did.

Thanks for the compliment on the photography. I am not a photographer at all but I can see that I have improved just from taking pics most days for my site. I just have a crappy hand-me-down point and shoot digital camera. My secret is to take 30 pictures and hope that 5 are good.
Daylight really helps - I have no idea what I am going to do in the winter.

Katie Barlow said...

Thank you for welcoming me to TWD. I have also joined Barefoot bloggers and am so excited to start cooking yummy dishes from Ida. Your cream of Wild Mushroom soup looks yummy!

Audrey said...

I love cream of mushroom soup. Yours looks delicious! ... and it looks like you showed those leeks how to settle down and behave. I can smell their buttery leekiness all the way over here.

Steph said...

I love cream of mushroom soup! Sadly, I've only ever had Campbells. I'm sure yours is a million times better, especially with the leeks... yum!

Bridgett said...

Some dishes just aren't the prettiest to photograph, but I think yours looks great. I wrestled with some leeks last night and also was a little unsure about them. They are just so huge! I love those darling little plates. Who wouldn't want a dino nugget off those? If they sold those in bowl form, then you can have your soup in that for dinner guests! ;)

Megan said...

I agree! I loved the soup and it's perfect for a soup corse but not something I would just whip out for dinner one evening. Plus the calories, ouch!

BMK said...

Your post is hilarious! We are in the big pot of chili phase of our life right now too! Although, we try to be more refined every now and then! I also had quite a time trying to photograph this soup, so you are not alone. I just don't think this one was very photogenic! Thanks for a good laugh.

Debinhawaii said...

Great post and your pictures are not ugly! Your soup looks great--man those were so big leeks! ;-) Love the Zoo Pals plate too!

Christine said...

Definitely a dinner party soup. My little one wouldn't touch it but we certainly enjoyed it! Loved the kids plates (we have them too) your soup looks delicious and I love your china!

Cynthia's Blog said...

You have a totally cute blog. I loved your pictures. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

your soup came out nice (the pictures look fine)!!! i love your posts...very entertaining!

Amanda said...

I want a mushroom stock scented candle.

n.o.e said...

I started a comment, but it was becoming a treatise, so in brief-

re: photography
It all depends on how far down the rabbit hole you want to go.

re: good china/fancy soup
Our youngest left for college 2 years ago and the good chine still gathers dust (except when I haul it out for food photography!). I think we will always be pot o' chili folks. But when you get to that "adult" phase, invite me over - that soup looks yummy!

Linds said...

lol, great post! I am glad that you enjoyed the soup and when the time comes, I am sure your guests (and maybe your aged children) will as well!

Matt's Kitchen said...

I just joined Barefoot Bloggers and can't wait to start cooking. I'm looking forward to read your future posts!

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