My Favorite Mushroom Soup

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The weather is starting to cool down a bit up here, with the essence of the fall season swimming in the breeze. Fall is my favorite time of year and the time I start to make one of my favorite things to eat - SOUP!

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I took advantage of a cool rainy day last week and made a huge pot of chicken stock from the insane amount of chicken parts I had in my freezer. I always do this when soup season is approaching. I make the stock and then I freeze it, making it very convent to whip up a delicious soup anytime.

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Stock is one of the most important things to making a soup delicious. In the height of autumn I throw in some nice winter squash or other root vegetables but my basic stock is: a large yellow onion, whole head of garlic, few stalks of celery, few carrots, large potato, handful of parsley, thyme, nice hefty pinch of sea salt, TB apple cider vinegar, chicken necks, wings, drumsticks - I collect a few of each parts from whole chickens I buy that the butcher chops up, roast the thighs and breasts and freeze the rest of the chicken parts. Then I top everything off with filtered water, bring to a light boil, skim off any foam that comes to the surface and then turn flame down to a simmer and let sit for a few hours. Strain and put in the fridge until cold to then skim off the layer of fat that rises to the top. I freeze the stock in small to medium containers which makes it easy to defrost the amount I need to make soup. I also pour the stock into large silicone ice cube trays (props to Martha Stewart for that brilliant tip) and freeze to pop into a pot of beans or cook vegetables or anything that you desire to add some extra protein and flavor.

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SO, with my homemade stock in the freezer, I had soup on my mind. I picked up a few beautiful bags of crimini mushrooms (baby portobella) at the farmers market and found a mushroom soup recipe by Mr. Anthony Bourdain that sounded perfect and super easy to make. I changed a few things and added a few things and it turned out to be the best easiest most delicious mushroom soup I have made. Seriously. Simple, tasty and truly came together without much effort. When I read his words, “This is a ridiculously easy soup to make. It's tasty and durable, and it gets even better overnight”. I was ready to jump into the kitchen and give it a go. I hope you do the same.

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Mushroom Soup

adapted from Epicurious via Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook

  • 3 TB goat butter or regular butter, divided
  • 1 TB extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 large shallots or small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 12 ounces crimini mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 TB mirin 1 TB tamari or soy sauce
  • 4-5 cups homemade chicken stock or really good low sodium store bought
  • sea salt
  • freshly milled black pepper

Top each bowl with cooked farro or other grain like brown rice or quinoa sautéed greens and sliced crimini or shiitake mushroom

In the medium saucepan, over a medium flame add the olive oil and 2 TB of the butter. When butter has melted add the shallot. Cook for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms, dried thyme and last remaining TB of butter. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. Add the mirin and tamari/soy sauce and stir around a bit then add the chicken stock and bring to a light boil. Reduce the flame and simmer for 45 minutes.

Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender's lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom purée to erupt all over your kitchen?

When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Serve as is or top individual bowls of soup with some cooked grain, sautéed greens and sliced crimini or shiitake mushroom.