Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fungi gone wild

It's cold. Again. I'm still wearing flip-flops*, but this counts as soup weather.

Cream of wild mushroom! Well, mostly wild. Thirty-three percent tame, actually. The porcini are dried and from a Whole Foods bin; the shiitake and cremini were from farmers market bins and are purportedly woods-gathered or whatever. Either way, they were great in soup form, especially with shallot croutons (read: shallots fried in brown butter) and whole wheat artisan-style bread. And then about a pound of spinach, a persimmon, and a mango for dessert. I felt fancy, so I abandoned the behind-on-studying mentality and actually passed the soup through a wire strainer a couple times to make it smooth.

Cream of mushroom soup
3 cloves garlic
1/2 oz dried porcini
12 oz fresh cremini
8 oz fresh shiitake
3 large shallots
2 to 3 tbsp butter
about 1/3 cup white wine
3 cups water
1 1/2 cups milk
a dash of soy sauce
sage, thyme, nutmeg, salt, and pepper

Bring the water to a boil and put in the dried porcini; let sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Mince 2 of the shallots and the garlic. While the butter is melting in the bottom of a pot, slice the third shallot thinly. Just as the butter begins to sizzle, fry the shallot slices in the butter. Remove when they're toasted to a dark golden brown. Add the minced shallots when the butter is fully browned and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, salt and pepper to taste, and the chopped fresh mushrooms; cook until the mushrooms have stopped exuding liquid. Add the wine and reduce to about 1/3 of the original total volume of wine and mushroom liquid. Add the porcini broth (but not the porcini themselves), soy sauce, sage, thyme, nutmeg (you only need a little of each, especially the nutmeg), and bring to a boil, then reduce and simmer until all the mushrooms are very soft. Puree, strain, puree again, and strain again. Stir in the milk and heat gently until the soup is warm. Adjust salt, pepper, and spices to taste.

*and will continue to do so until it actually endangers my toes.

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