A make-ahead, adapt­able, mush­room-pow­ered soup

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - CATHY BAR­ROW Bar­row is a cook­book au­thor.

AS

THE DAYS grow chilly, a hearty soup is wel­come at any get-to­gether.

Soups are easy to make in ad­vance and need noth­ing more than a wedge of cheese and a loaf of bread, maybe a bowl of olives and a glass of wine. That’s sup­per, lunch or an af­ter­noon pick-me-up, served in a gen­er­ous bowl.

For this soup’s in­spi­ra­tion, I turned to the flavours of France’s clas­sic forestière and Italy’s cac­cia­tore — for­est or hunter’s stews — where the woodsy earth­i­ness of mush­rooms takes cen­tre stage.

Creamy Mush­room Bisque Makes 8 serv­ings (6 cups)

1 pound crem­ini mush­rooms, caps thinly sliced and stems re­moved and re­served (see head­note)

1⁄2 ounce dried porcini mush­rooms

4 cups chicken broth, prefer­ably home­made

1⁄4 cup ex­tra-vir­gin olive oil, or more as needed

1⁄2 cup chopped shal­lot

1 ta­ble­spoon un­salted but­ter 2 cloves gar­lic, grated

1 tea­spoon tomato paste

1 tsp Worces­ter­shire sauce

1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1⁄2 tsp chopped rose­mary leaves

1⁄4 cup dry sherry (may sub­sti­tute dry ver­mouth or unsweet­ened ap­ple cider)

3⁄4 tsp kosher salt, or more as needed

1⁄4 tsp freshly ground black pep­per, or more as needed

1⁄2 cup heavy whip­ping cream

2 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp chopped pars­ley

Com­bine the crem­ini mush­room stems, the dried porcini and the stock in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Once small bub­bles be­gin to form at the edges of the liq­uid, cover, re­duce the heat medi­um­low and cook for 30 min­utes.

Pour the mix­ture through a finemesh strainer set over a large heat­proof pitcher or liq­uid cup mea­sure, dis­card­ing the solids. Let cool undis­turbed, dur­ing which time some sed­i­ment will fall to the bot­tom.

Heat 3 ta­ble­spoons of the oil in a wide, heavy skil­let over high heat. Once the oil is shim­mer­ing, add the sliced crem­i­nis in a sin­gle layer; it may be nec­es­sary to cook the mush­rooms in two batches, adding an ex­tra ta­ble­spoon of oil. Re­duce the heat to medium-high; cook undis­turbed for about eight min­utes, un­til they are nicely browned and re­lease from the pan with­out stick­ing. Turn them over; cook on the sec­ond side for six to eight min­utes un­til they are just as browned. Trans­fer to a bowl.

Pour the re­main­ing ta­ble­spoon of oil into the pan, add the shal­lots and cook, stir­ring all the time, over medium heat un­til wilted and translu­cent, about four min­utes, then add the but­ter and gar­lic; cook for just 30 sec­onds, then add the tomato paste, Worces­ter­shire, thyme and rose­mary, cook­ing for three or four min­utes un­til the tomato paste is fra­grant and slightly darker in colour.

Re­turn the sliced crem­i­nis to the pan and toss to in­cor­po­rate. In­crease the heat to medium-high; pour in the sherry and cook for about two min­utes, or un­til the al­co­hol cooks off. Sea­son with the salt and pep­per, then taste; the mix­ture should taste slightly salty. Re­move from the heat; re­serve about 1/2 cup for a gar­nish.

Grad­u­ally pour the mush­room-chicken stock into a large saucepan, be­ing care­ful to leave any sed­i­ment be­hind. Stir in the re­main­ing crem­ini mix­ture; bring to barely a boil over medium heat, then re­move from the heat and stir in the cream.

If you are blend­ing the soup, re­move the cen­tre knob in the lid of the blender so steam can es­cape. Place a pa­per towel over the open­ing. Purée in batches, un­til vel­vety smooth.

Re­turn all the puréed soup to the pan; warm it through over low heat. Stir in the chives and pars­ley. Taste, and add more salt and/or pep­per, as needed.

Serve in warmed bowls, gar­nished with the re­served mush­room mix­ture.

Per serv­ing: 170 calo­ries, 3 grams pro­tein, 6 g car­bo­hy­drates, 14 g fat, 5 g sat­u­rated fat, 25 mil­ligrams choles­terol, 400 mg sodium, 1 g di­etary fi­bre, 3 g su­gar

GO­RAN KOSANOVIC FOR THE WASH­ING­TON POST

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