Off the Wall

There is something about mushrooms that I find alluring. As a child, I imagined them growing in mystical forests, under a cloak of fog, amid quilts of moss and the dense canopy above. I found them romantic and mysterious, and wished I could go foraging…

Off the Wall

There is something about mushrooms that I find alluring. As a child, I imagined them growing in mystical forests, under a cloak of fog, amid quilts of moss and the dense canopy above. I found them romantic and mysterious, and wished I could go foraging for mushrooms. Instead, I resigned myself to imagining this as I played in my yard, where there were always mushrooms to be found, though sadly none of the edible variety. We did have several tall trees that provided enough shade for moss and mushrooms to grow, and I would pretend that I was in a secret world; my play wavered between imagining I was cooking up a mushroom stew and pretending I was visiting the Smurfs. If you were a child of the 80’s you wouldn’t laugh, I know you must have loved the Smurfs and their mushroom homes, too.

I still am so fascinated by mushrooms, and as an adult, I dream of taking trips to Europe or China and shadowing mycophagists as they hunt for mushrooms. But I must settle for mushroom hunting at my local markets, and once in a while, I will encounter fabulous specimens. And when I see them, I just have to have them.

 

Like these King Trumpet Mushrooms.

 

And these Beech Mushrooms.

With the weather still so dismal and grey, I took comfort in transforming these mushrooms, along with the more easily found Shiitake mushrooms, into a Trio of Mushroom Soup. Would you believe that a small portion of it ended up on my kitchen walls? Since my immersion blender broke a while back, I never replaced it, and in my eagerness, I overfilled my blender. When I turned it on, despite my best efforts to hold down the lid, precious mushroom puree flew out, resulting in a soupy crime scene. As my husband and I cleaned mushroom bits off the wall, I muttered to myself that it better be worth the effort.

It was. I loved the soup. My husband even said it was the best soup I had ever made (!). So, the mess was worth it. Only next time, I’ll take my time with the blender.

Trio of Mushroom Soup

Serves 4.

Use your favorite mushrooms if you can not find these varieties. Whatever you find will surely taste just as wonderful. And do be careful when blending. If you opt to use a standard blender, fill to about half capacity and blend in batches if necessary. Always cover the lid with a dish cloth and hold tight.

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3.5 oz Bunashimeji (Beech Mushrooms), roughly chopped
  • 10.5 oz King Trumpet Mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 6 oz Shiitake Mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 7 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • kosher salt, to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • chives for garnish

In a Dutch oven or heavy soup pot, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter and add shallots and garlic. When the shallots are transparent (be careful not to allow them to brown), add mushrooms. Season very lightly with a pinch of salt, and stir occasionally until the mushrooms have softened completely. Add Sherry vinegar and deglaze the pot. Add the celery. After about two minutes, add the chicken broth, season to taste with kosher salt, about 1-2 teaspoons to start, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Blend the soup and return to a simmer. Stir in milk and the final tablespoon of butter, and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Simmer over low heat until ready to serve. Garnish with chives and enjoy!

Comments

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  1. AutumnDawn

    Most of the gourmet mushrooms can be cultivated at home these days; http://www.gmushrooms.com/, has made it especially easy with their indoor kits. Chantrelles don’t grow in captivity, so we still hunt for them in the hills behind out house. This season has been especially bountiful, on a couple of occasions we were able to bring in upwards of 10 pounds during one outing! Delicious soup recipe, by the way! :) Next you should try cream of Chantrelle with apple wood smoked bacon! :)

    Reply
  2. Kath

    I have a husband who uses superlatives when complimenting my recipes, too! Isn’t it great to have a husband who so appreciates your cooking? :)

    Your mushroom photos are gorgeous. I have lately been on the lookout for a great mushroom soup recipe. I think I may have found it! Thanks!

    Reply
  3. Orly @yumivore

    Not only does it look delectable, it tastes heavenly as though it was “mushroom mousse”. I whipped up the soup for dinner- simply delightful! Beautiful photography and site, kudos!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Orly, it puts a big smile on my face knowing you tried out the soup! Thank you for letting me know – I’m so happy that you loved it!

      Reply
  4. Jun Belen

    Lovely new design, Liren! Congratulations!! And these mushroom shots and mushroom soup are just beautiful!! Looking forward to more of your new site!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you, Jun, I’m really enjoying the new look of my site! Glad you like it, too :)

      Reply
  5. Hester aka The Chef Doc

    I am so glad that I can get all of these mushrooms in my local Asian grocery store :-) I am a huge fan of mushrooms, almost to the point where you can call me a “mushroom freak” haha. I can’t wait to try this recipe out. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Hi Cristina! Thank you – so pleased you like the new layout (you were the first to notice!).

      Reply
  6. Priscilla - She's Cookin'

    There’s a magical quality to mushrooms and you’ve totally captured that with your words and the seductive photos. I’m not surprised that it was the “best soup you’ve ever made” :) You better replace your immersion blender this weekend!

    Reply
  7. Liren

    Thank you, everyone! Photographing these expressive mushrooms was definitely a lot of fun (I could have filled up a whole SD card with shots), and savoring the soup was even better!

    Reply
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