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. Joy

    Wow Liren, what a mysterious yet seductive shot of those mushrooms – it makes this soup seem even more decadent! Mushroom soup is one of my favorites — the earthy, woodsy flavors are always such a comfort.

    p.s. I giggled at your mushroom mishap, only because I’ve done the same thing many times before. -_- oooh the joys of kitchen messes!

    Reply
  2. Jean

    Liren, your mushroom pictures are truly beautiful. I’m sure the soup–with such a strong endorsement from your hubby–is spectacular, too. I love mushrooms and this is one simple but elegant way to enjoy it. :-)

    Reply
  3. Magic of Spice

    Mushrooms are always a favorite for me too, and I love your soup :)
    Gorgeous photos as well, they are one of my favorite models

    Reply
  4. Dina @TheDishandTheDirt

    Gorgeous mushrooms. I always wished I could put my rainboots and slosh around following little pig truffle hunters for a morning. What little loot, but what a great reward. This soups looks like a good foil for this weather we’ve been having in San Francisco.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you, Alisa! That means so much to me, as I know you have surely come across many mushroom posts :)

      Reply
    • Liren

      Big claim from my husband, but he really did enjoy it! Hope you do try it :)

      Reply
  5. France @beyondthepeel

    I loved the smurfs. One of my favorites in fact! I used to pick mushrooms off the lawn and eat them. My father told me that according to his book they were safe. I wish he would have told me in small quantities. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a “gourmand”. It was years until I enjoyed them again with the same rigor.

    Reply
    • Liren

      Wow, I am in awe – I can’t tell you how tempted I always was to try mushrooms in my yard, but did not have the guidance to know which were safe. You’re so lucky that you father was able to guide you!

      Reply
    • Liren

      Debi, you’re right – it’s not at all heavy. Full of creaminess without the fat!

      Reply
  6. Kate @ Diethood.com

    I love the smurfs and I’ve been mushroom hunting in Europe – Macedonia to be exact. We had a wonderful time walking through the forests and picking those mushrooms from the ground.

    Sorry about the messy scene in your kitchen, but you got a beautiful soup out of it! That is a beautiful photo and the soup sounds amazing.

    Reply
    • Liren

      I’m so envious! Wow, Kate, what an incredible experience that must have been in Macedonia!

      Reply
  7. norma

    I once tried a creamless mushroom soup and that is when my love affair with mushrooms started…yours reminds meof that soup.

    Reply
  8. RavieNomNoms

    Loving this, I adore mushrooms so this just looks amazing to me!

    Reply
  9. Stephanie @ okie dokie artichokie

    There is something so absolutely intoxicating about mushroom soup — I can’t help but truly lose myself in the moment whenever I get a chance to enjoy a lovely bowl of it. I love how earthy and deep and musky it tastes, and plus it just looks wonderful. I love how you combined several of them together — what a great tribute to mushrooms!

    Reply
  10. Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen

    I’ve been fascinated with mushrooms since I was little too. I remember I had a little book that listed all the different mushroom varieties and when we would go walking in the woods we would look to see if we could spot any.

    Reply
  11. foodwanderings

    We love mushrooms million ways and your mushroom soup looks fabulous!! The shots are gorgeous! btw I think I got the same cake stand but in light light pink:)

    Reply
  12. Monet

    Ah yes…the allure of mushrooms. I’ve also been fascinated with them since childhood…and I loved the smurfs too. This looks just delicious, my friend. I loved seeing all of those stunning shrooms too. Thanks for sharing with me tonight. I hope you have a great Wednesday. Happy Hump Day!

    Reply
  13. Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot

    Liren I adore your mushroom photos! I’ve always had the same attraction to these adorable little toadstools. I imagine mischievous tiny fairies and elves dancing around them at night.

    Reply
  14. Stephanie

    I adore mushrooms too – they really are romantic, mysterious, and most importantly, delicious. This soup sounds fantastic and I love your gorgeous photos. Sorry about the blender incident – how frustrating! I highly recommend getting a stick blender for soups (and lots of other recipes too). They’re definitely worth it and don’t take up too much cupboard space.

    Reply
    • Liren

      I really do need to replace my stick blender, and this mushroom incident was a good reminder! I do miss it!

      Reply
  15. Lisa { AuthenticSuburbanGourmet }

    First, your photographs of these mushrooms is stunning. I agree with Brian that they are expressive and almost have their own personalities. Sorry to hear about the blender blunders – such a bummer to have to clean all of that up. What a terrific compliment from your hubby – since I am sure that he is your biggest fan. This is a MUST try soup – I have been looking for a great recipe and now I have found it. Have a wonderful week Liren! :-)

    Reply
    • Liren

      Thank you, Lisa! Wishing you a wonderful weekend, too (with the rain coming on Sunday, I may have to make another batch of soup!).

      Reply
  16. Sara @CaffeIna

    When I was a kid I was always going picking mushrooms with my parents on the weekends. I loved that! It’s one of my fondest memories. And of course, I do love mushrooms! I’m always in for a mushroom soup and this has 3 types so…totally my style!
    Beautiful pictures!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Sara, what wonderful memories you must have from you childhood! I would love, love, love to pick mushrooms!

      Reply
  17. Amy Bakes Everything

    Those mushrooms are gorgeous! We hunt for morels here, but it’s not very exciting…I spend most of the hunt looking out for snakes. My dad yells at me because I’ll be standing right by one and not see it. That soup would fit perfectly in my belly right now, great job!

    Reply
    • Liren

      Snakes, yikes! I guess that’s really all part of the adventure!

      Reply
  18. Brian @ A Thought For Food

    I adore the flavor of mushrooms, but what I love about photographing them is that they are so expressive. They seem (and are) alive and seem to each have their own personality.

    Reply
  19. Krissyp

    Beautiful photos. Sorry about the blender incident. I will never put anything hot in a blender again…then again I am just as dangerous with the immersion blender. I am a mushroom fan and very lucky to live within 30 minutes of Kennett Square, PA (mushroom country out here). Most of the restaurants along route 1 offer some sort of mushroom soup and popover muffin, absolutely delicious and one of my favorites. I am eager to try your recipe. Thanks so much for sharing. I agree they are mystical…and I loved the Smurfs too (Saturday morning with a bowl of Apple Jacks or Lucky Charms…and the Smurfs).

    Reply
    • Liren

      How fabulous – perhaps I just need to stay stateside and hunt for mushrooms in Pennsylvania! (Oh, and I used to love Lucky Charms!)

      Reply
  20. skip to malou

    i will never look at mushrooms the same way. your eloquence will makes me look at it on a different light, that I would never had imagined mushrooms to be.
    and this trio soup.. ahh i wish I could enjoy a bowl right now because even in sunny San Diego, the sun has become a tease…

    Reply
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