I enjoy a good creamy mushroom soup, preferably not from a can. The secret here is sautéing the mushrooms so that they become browned and aromatic. The addition of wine, almonds and thyme make the soup so rich and tasty for me that cream is optional.
- 1 1/2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 pound mushrooms, chopped; shiitake, brown button, etc. work well.
- butter or olive oil, or a mix
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup shallots or sweet red onions, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour
- 2 tablespoons Marsala wine or dry sherry
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon dried (or 1/2 teaspoon fresh) thyme
- 1/2 cup almonds, blanched and chopped (roasted, too, if desired)
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- (optional) crème fraîche
- (optional) truffle oil
- In a medium sauce pan, bring the stock to a simmer.
- In a large frying pan, sauté the mushrooms in 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil over high heat. Cook away the moisture, until the mushrooms are no longer glossy, and have become lightly browned and aromatic.
- Place mushrooms in a bowl and set aside. Deglaze the frying pan, and add that liquid to the stock.
- In a smallish stock pot (about 4 to 6 quarts), sauté the shallots and garlic in 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter and/or olive oil over medium high heat until softened.
- Add the flour to the shallots. Stir well for a couple of minutes, ensuring that no lumps of flour remain.
- Add the Marsala wine, stir to remove any lumps that might form. Add the bay leaf and thyme.
- Add the stock about 1 cup to 1 pint at a time, stirring, stirring.
- Add the mushrooms and almonds. Allow to simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper, to taste. Using a hand blender, purée the soup to desired consistency. It will have a cute speckled appearance.
- Serve in warmed bowls. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche and/or drizzle of truffle oil, if you wish.