Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Mad About Mushrooms

Our drippy, damp fall and winter weather may not be everyone's cuppa, but some thrive in this moist environment. They're called fungi. Welcome them into your home with this creamy, cozy soup from contributor Kathryn LaSusa Yeomans.

As the cold comes on, many farms wind down for the winter, but the opposite is happening at Springwater Farm, whose offerings are at their peak. Chanterelles, porcini, truffles, hedgehog, black trumpet, yellowfoot, matsutake, fried chicken mushrooms, cauliflower mushrooms, nameko, shiitake and maitake are all in season right now!

Here's Springwater Farm's own fantastic Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe:

Springwater Farm Cream of Mushroom Soup

4 oz. fresh shiitake mushrooms
4 oz. fresh maitake mushrooms
4 oz. fresh chanterelle mushrooms
1 Tbsp. good olive oil
1/4 lb. (1 stick) plus 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
1 c. chopped yellow onion
1 carrot, chopped
1 sprig fresh thyme plus 1 tsp. minced thyme leaves, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 c. chopped leeks, white and light green parts (2 leeks)
1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. dry white wine
1 c. half-and-half
1 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large pot. Add 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. Slice the mushrooms 1/4-inch thick and, if they are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are 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 vegetable 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.


Loo said...

Kismet with the brother I see! I love mushrooms, but only ones I buy from stores or farmers. I fear for my foraging brother. Crazee guy.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Luckily chanterelles are easily identifiable since they don't look like any other mushrooms. And the fact that we have many many reputable people selling them at our farmers' markets, since I share your nervousness about sussing out which are and, particularly, are not edible.