I've waited too long to post this mushroom soup recipe. Now that I’m back home, I can give it the attention that it deserves.
The weather is just gorgeous here right now. I wish I could share it with all of you. We need rain, though - if you have any you could send our way, Texas would appreciate it.
Last Sunday, we took off for a drive in the country to look for bluebonnets. The lack of rain has kept most of them from blooming, but we did find one field of them.
Then we stopped at a state park. Needing change for the twenties in our wallets, we impulsively bought a couple of books at the park's gift shop. Jim bought one about roadside historical markers and mine was about Texas wineries. Time for another road trip!
There's nothing quite like sampling 8 wines before lunch. You should try it someday.
Now on to the soup. Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes, along with her co-host Lisa of Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen, announced a neat theme for this month's No Croutons Required. Since April 1 was Jacqueline's birthday, she decided on a birthday theme for NCR. You are to use a previous year's theme from the month that you were born. I was an April baby, too (my birthday was last Tuesday), so I could choose a mushroom, tomato or onion soup or salad. I'm sending this to NCR, as well as entering it in my own new event, House Favorites: Vegan.
This is probably the best mushroom soup I've ever had. It is definitely the best I've ever made. It takes a little bit of time because of the broth that you make first, but the broth can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. The finished soup freezes, too. Both recipes are adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison's Kitchen.
The Best Mushroom Broth
I use 2 whole ounces of dried mushrooms in this, which can be expensive. I found an 8 ounce container of mixed dried mushrooms for less than $20 at Costco, but if affordable ones aren't available to you, use 3/4 ounce dried (preferably using both porcinis and shiitakes) and 8 ounces of chopped fresh button mushrooms added to the pot at the same time as the onions.
Since the broth is strained, you can chop the vegetables in big pieces,and include washed onion peels and celery leaves. Also, since you don't have to bother peeling the garlic, this is a great way to use those skinny cloves from the middle of the bulb-just use more of them if they're tiny.
2 ounces mixed dried mushrooms, including some shiitakes and porcinis
6 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
1-2 tablespoons miso, red if you have it
Soak the mushrooms in the boiling water while you prepare the rest of the broth.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and salt and pepper and sauté for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate the browned vegetable bits.
Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain vegetables from broth and discard. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon miso into a half-cup or so of hot broth and then stir into the rest of the broth. Taste and add more miso if you like.
This should make 4 cups, just enough for the soup, but I always end up with more. The extra freezes well and is great in risotto and veggie loaf. Or you could just make more mushroom soup.
The Best Mushroom Soup
8 ounces button mushrooms
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallot or onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups of The Best Mushroom Broth, above
1 cup bread crumbs from about 2 slices bread
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer (plain) or milk
Reserve 4 or 5 of the smaller, shapelier mushrooms and chop the rest finely. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the shallot and mushrooms until they are tender and mushrooms are releasing their liquid. Add garlic and salt and sauté another minute. Add the bread and mushroom broth and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir in creamer.
Divide the soup into 4 bowls. Thinly slice the reserved mushrooms and use them to garnish the soup.