Spring Break Cooking Marathon Day 4: Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.
After 3 days of cooking more complicated dishes, I felt like making something simpler tonight. Why not a nice cream of mushroom soup to go with my Aberdeen Angus steak dinner?
Cream of mushroom soup is surely a favourite among many people. For a mushroom lover like myself, my perfect bowl of cream of mushroom should be fully loaded with mushrooms. I’ve had some really dreadful ones in Hong Kong, in those restaurants that serve soy sauce-western food, serving me some creamy water with bits of mushrooms here and there. Thinking about that just makes me shudder.. ew, gross…
Ok, I’ve had some really good ones in some other proper restaurants in Hong Kong as well, but I’ve never made this soup by myself before.. Going through the Smitten Kitchen blog, I found this recipe, which has proven to be awesome. The recipe calls for 2 pounds of fresh mushrooms, and little liquid, which gives this soup a heavy mushroom flavour. Me gusta!
I halved the recipe because it’s only me eating, which still leaves me with plenty of leftovers.. Here’s my slightly tweaked version:
- 5 dried Shitake mushrooms
- 1/2 pound (~230 g) White button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1/2 pound (~230 g) Forestières mushroom, cleaned and thinly sliced
- 1/2 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
- 2 tablespoons of grapeseed oil
- 3 cups of vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the dried Shitakes in 1 cup of warm water until it’s fully rehydrated. (that should take around 30-40 minutes). Strain the soaking liquid, remove grit, and KEEP IT, DON’T THROW IT AWAY! (the soaking liquid is where all the good flavouring goes!). Squeeze out the liquid from the Shitakes and finely slice them.
- Heat oil in a large pot in medium heat. Add onion, garlic, shallot and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes, until onion is translucent but not browned. The rosemary should release it’s wonderful aroma while cooking.
- Turn the heat to high and add all mushrooms. Stir continuously. The mushrooms should release quite a lot of liquid. Cook until the liquid is evaporated, around 10 minutes.
- Add vegetable stock and the reserved mushroom soaking water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, and simmer the soup for 30 minutes.
- Add cream and butter, and transfer the soup to a blender (or use an immersion blender so you can keep everything in the pot). Blend until smooth. Serve immediately.
Feel free to drizzle a little bit of cream to decorate. If you are feel extremely decadent, drizzle a few drops of truffle oil. Not a lot because of the over-powering flavour and aroma. And don’t be silly! Not those synthetic ones, use the real stuff (which I unfortunately cannot afford..) or don’t even bother.
Also, for the mushrooms, wild ones are definitely much better. Chanterelles, Girolles, Oysters are a couple of good options. Forestières, Shitakes, and White Buttons are the ones I can find at my local Tesco, so ok, they work as well. Instead of dried Shitakes, a couple of dried porcini will certainly make it more luxurious!
PS: Just realise the colour of my desk looks like the soup. Maybe that’s why I’ve been craving for a nice cream of mushroom soup…