Sunday, February 17, 2019
Simple & Creamy: Mushroom chowder
In making the Choucroute Garnie featured in a recent post—it's an Alsation dish featuring sauerkraut braised for hours in chicken stock, with many meats added and then simmered some more—I apparently got a little over-excited estimating the number of potatoes that people might be hungry for. Then my husband and I got our wires crossed while grocery shopping and we ended up with an extra pound of cremini mushrooms.
To make a long story short, we had the aforementioned abundance of cooked potatoes and those mushrooms that were starting to look a little long in the tooth. Plus it coincided with our recent spate of late winter chilly temperatures hovering in the 20s and 30s. Always in the mood for a hearty soup—check out this 12-year collection of soup recipes if you don't believe me—I got the bright idea to make a mushroom chowder, albeit a vegetarian version since we're temporarily out of Dave's homemade bacon (a situation soon to be corrected).
To cut to the chase, this came together in about 40 minutes and was, frankly, the best mushroom soup I've had anywhere, including restaurants, that I can remember. (That opinion is backed up by those here who are not shy about criticism and not over-prone to praise, by the way.) And here's a wacky thought: If you should happen to leave out the potatoes, I'd even recommend it as a substitute if you've sworn off Campbell's cream of mushroom but still crave that comforting flavor.
4 Tbsp. butter
1 onion, chopped in 1/4" dice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c. celery, finely diced
1 lb. mushrooms, thinly sliced
6 oz. sour cream
3 Tbsp. flour
1/2 c. white wine
2 c. chicken stock
2-3 c. whole milk, depending on how thick you like your chowder
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
3 bay leaves
1 1/2 lb. potatoes chopped in 1/2" dice
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat.
Add onions and sauté until tender. Add celery and garlic and sauté until tender. Add mushrooms and sauté until tender.
Remove from heat and sprinkle flour over the mixture, stirring well to combine. Put back on medium heat and stir frequently to keep it from sticking, about 3 minutes. Add wine and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pot, and allow to thicken slightly.
Stir in sour cream until smooth, then add chicken stock, milk, bay leaves, thyme and potatoes. Bring to a bare simmer. Reduce heat and simmer on low heat, just enough to keep it barely bubbling, for 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. (As mentioned above, leftover boiled potatoes are entirely substitutable.)
If you have some excellent bacon (like Dave makes), start with 3-4 slices cut in 1/4" pieces. Place it in the heated pan before adding butter and sauté until it's cooked but not crisp, then continue with the rest of the recipe.