I made this soup a couple of weeks ago after a generous vendor at the Vancouver Farmer’s Market dropped off a big box of portobello mushrooms for the volunteers. I knew instantly what I wanted to do with them. It’s Fall and I have strong urges to make soup in the Fall. Soup is very forgiving with its ingredients and often I will add what I have on hand. Maybe it enhances the flavour, maybe not. Either way, stuff gets used up. And I like to blend my soups because A, I like the consistency of blended soups and B, you don’t have to chop things fussily. My hand blender is definitely my friend. -bvox
Mushroom Soup with Herbs
6 tbsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and chopped (optional)
8 ounces brown mushrooms, sliced
2 ounces dried shiitake (or mixed) mushrooms
2 cups boiling water
2 cups vegetable stock or broth
2 sprigs of thyme
1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
Salt and pepper
2 ounces sherry
3 parmesean rinds (optional)
1/4 cup cream or whole milk (optional)
In a large measuring cup, pour boiling water over the dried mushrooms and let them soften for about 20-30 minutes. Drain the mushrooms well, reserving the liquid, making sure to remove any sediment. A coffee filter lined in a sieve works great. Chop mushrooms and set aside.
In a large saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the herbs, garlic, mushrooms, carrots and the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn’t take on any brown color. Add the sherry, mix well, until sherry is absorbed. Add parmesean rinds if using. Cook’s note: I keep a baggie in my freezer and add parmesean rinds to it; they’re great flavour boosters to have on hand.
Stir in the reserved mushroom liquid and stock and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove the parmesean rinds, bay leaves and thyme sprigs and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then blend until smooth with a hand blender or transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth.
When blended, return the soup to the stove and bring up to a simmer again. Add cream if using and adjust seasoning if needed. Top with yogurt (I flavoured mine with pureed roasted red peppers) and fresh chives.