Posted by: Part-Time Audiophile | March 2, 2009

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Etuve of Carrot & Shiitake

This one is a little over the top. Beware!

2 stalks celery
1 leek
1 medium onion
2 cups mushrooms
1 cup reconstituted dried mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup dry white wine
3 cups stock
2 cups heavy cream
Thyme
Parsley
Bay leaf
Salt
Pepper

Sweat celery, leek and onion — all chopped, medium dice. “Sweat”, meaning, low heat, with butter and a pinch of salt, till they get soft, but don’t take any color.

Add ~2 cups finely chopped mushrooms. Buttons work fine. Cremini are good too.

Add reconstituted mushrooms, if using. Porcini work well. Dried mushrooms here really throws this over the top. But if you are forgoing them, simply add some more buttons or whatever mushrooms you’re using.

Add pinch of salt and turn up burner to medium high.

Cook the mix till the pan develops a nice glaze (“stuff” sticks to and will quickly coast the bottom of the pan). This will happen pretty quick once the mushrooms throw off most of their water (which is the goal, so keep going) — keep an eye on it.

Deglaze the pan with the wine.

Note: about cooking with wine. Generally, I prefer to use Chardonnay for this (it holds up well), though I should mention that I’ve been instructed not to use an “oaky” Chardonnay unless I have no other choice (but it’s better this than no wine at all … though on second thought, white wine vinegar instead of wine might be interesting …). Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or Fume Blanc will probably also work fine. Red wine would be fine flavor-wise, but it’ll throw the color of the final product off, so avoid them. Gewurztraminer or any “off-dry” (which means “some residual sugar”) or sweet or semi-sweet white will not produce the flavor you want, so avoid them too.

Scrape all the yummy bits off the bottom of the pan, cook off the wine. You want the pan almost dry before the next step.

Add 1/2 cup of stock. I used chicken, but vegetable should work. Heck, chicken water (store-bought stock) would probably work well, too. Stir.

Add 2 cups heavy cream. LOL. Yes, heavy cream.

Add herbs. You need a “bouquet garni”, which is 1 bay leaf and 2 sprigs each thyme and parsley, or thereabouts. 1/2 tsp of each, dried and tied up in cheesecloth with the bay leaf, should be fine too.

Heat till it comes to a boil — but do not boil. Turn stove down to med-low. If it looks like boiling is imminent, turn down the heat. After 10 mins, take it off the heat. Remove bouquet garni.

Add the mixture to a blender. Puree it (and keep going a bit farther than you think you might need to) till very very smooth.

You can stop at this point if you need to hold it till just before service. Should keep a day or two in the fridge, no problem.

To finish, return to pot and add ~2 more cups stock. You’re trying to thin out the “flavored cream-base”, so this is more of a matter of taste. So, add stock till it is “soup like”, instead of “pudding” or “sauce-like”.

Heat to temp, season to taste, and serve immediately.

Possible garnish: Etuve with enoki mushrooms and julienned carrots. Julienned shiitake work well if you can’t find enoki. If no mushrooms, try carrots and leek. You’ll need 1/2 carrot and about the same amount of leek.

To make etuve — julienne your bits. A “julienne” cut is 2″ long and 1/8″ in diameter, or about the size of match. Pop your cuts into a small pan with ~2T stock and 1T butter. Cover, simmer (very low), about 10 mins, or until just cooked — should be soft, but not total mush.

Season to taste. Add to soup, top with a pinch of fresh parsley, & serve.

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