Mushroom Soup

December 22nd, 2010 / Comments 0

For a number of years, the arrival of a large, oval basket filled to the brim with fresh mushrooms at our front door in the middle of December, marked the beginning of gift giving in our Washington, D. C. neighborhood.

mushroom 02 c egbert Mushroom Soup

Our neighbor Robin and his family spent most weekends at their country house in eastern Pennsylvania and he brought mushrooms from Kennett Square, the mushroom capital of the world, for everyone on the block.

Three pounds of mushrooms, especially the week before Christmas, when the fridge was filled with holiday fare, presented a cooking challenge, so many mushrooms and so little time. Mushroom soup was the first recipe I thought of when the mushrooms arrived. Served with crusty bread and a green salad, it made an easy dinner during a busy week. Here’s how I did it:

Mushroom Soup

I began by coarsely chopping two medium shallots and one pound of mushrooms in the food processor. I melted two tablespoons of unsalted butter in a medium saucepan, added the mushroom/shallot mixture, one teaspoon of dried thyme and the juice of half a lemon. I cooked the mixture over medium heat for about fifteen minutes. When the liquid from the mushrooms had evaporated, I stirred in half a teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of ground pepper, a pinch of cayenne pepper and two cups of chicken stock and simmered the soup, over low heat, for twenty minutes. I dissolved one teaspoon of cornstarch in a tablespoon of cold water, stirred it into one and a half cups of light cream and added it to the soup. I simmered the soup for ten minutes, over low heat, stirring constantly. I topped each serving with a teaspoon of sour cream and a sprinkle of freshly chopped parsley.

Onions, scallions or leeks may be substituted for the shallots, and milk or heavy cream can be substituted for light cream. Skimmed milk makes the soup too “Scrooge-y”.

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