I forgot that I'd purchased mushrooms and so bought more, and now I have to use them up. What better way than in a luscious soup?
This is not the recipe that's in the cookbook I wrote for my family and friends--it's one I've been using for the past couple of years. So if any friends are reading this, let me just say that this recipe is far, far superior.
It's based on one in Deborah Madison's encyclopedic Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, or as I call it, the Orange Bible (and actually only the spine and her name on the cover are in orange; go figure).
The soup is pureed, and in my experience, a stick blender won't do the job (maybe I don't have the right one). Fresh herbs enliven the appearance of the soup.
If you don't have mushroom stock--another great way to use up mushrooms--then substitute Better Than Bouillon mushroom base.
1 pound white mushrooms, cleaned
3 T. butter, divided
1 cup chopped leek, preferably, or onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from stems, or 1/4 tsp. dried
1/4 cup water
sprinkle of salt
1 T. flour
1 quart mushroom stock, or 1 quart water and 1 T. Better Than Bouillon mushroom base
1/2 to 1 cup cream
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
chopped parsley, chives, or tarragon
Set aside a few mushroooms for garnish and coarsely chop the rest. Melt 2 T. of the butter in a soup pot and add leek, garlic, thyme, sprinkle or two of salt, and the 1/4 c. water. Cover and stew over medium heat for 5 minutes, then raise the heat, add the chopped mushrooms, and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes. Puree the soup, return it to the pot, and stir in the cream. Add salt and pepper to taste. Keep warm over low heat.
Slice the reserved mushrooms. Melt the remaining butter in a skillet, add mushrooms, and saute over high heat, stirring constantly, until they begin to brown, about 4 or 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Garnish soup with the mushrooms and herbs, and serve.