The Kirkley family loves soup. I suppose this is another reason I love the change in seasons. We’re giddy when it gets cold, because here comes all the hearty flavorful soups. All the table conversation is suspended because everyone’s too busy murmuring yum…yum…yum. I don’t term my soups as anything more than refrigerator cleaning. Almost anything that has been accumulating in the refrigerator find its way into the soup. (aside: refrigerator cleaning in summer is called “Salad!”)
James (our son), bless his heart. Truly thinks and openly professes I’m the Queen of Soup!!! However, I recently found out (I’m now talking as Yoda in Star Wars.) there is another!
Jim made me his Cream of Mushroom Soup. His rendition is based on a recipe by Alice Waters. He doesn’t follow the recipe, he uses it as more of list of suggestions. It makes a huge mess but this all gets cleaned up before we sit down to eat, so no big deal! Jim normally doesn’t, if at all, make soup, but this one is an exception.
Jim uses Crimini mushrooms, or if Crimini are too expensive he’ll use a mix of Criminis and White Button. Try to get the oldest brownest ones you can find. Usually the store will have them on special, these are the ones you want. The recipe also indicates Nutmeg is optional, in my opinion, it is not. This soup is so sublime the hint of Nutmeg and Sherry carry it over the moon.
1/2 pound mature mushrooms with stems
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1/2 cup tender celery, chopped
1/4 cup onion, sliced
1/8 cup parsley, shredded
1 cup Bechamel
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon paprika
3 tablespoons Dry Sherry
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
sprigs of parsley or chapped chives
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
1 Cup milk
1. Saute mushrooms lightly in butter over medium heat
2. Combine, in large soup pot, mushrooms, chicken stock, celery, onion, and parsley
3. Simmer, covered for 20 minutes
4. While stock is simmering prepare Bechamel (see below)
5. Drain the vegetables reserve the stock
6. Blend vegetables or put them through a food processor. (We use an immersion blender.)
7. Slowly pour the Beshamel into the stock, return to heat and stir until the soup just reaches a boil
8. Add the ground vegetables, heat, but DO NOT boil
9. Season the soup with salt, paprika, and Sherry (nutmeg optional)
10. Serve with a swirl of heavy cream and a garnish of paprika, and a sprig of parsley, or chopped chives
Melt butter in a sauce pan. Whisk in flour and continue whisking until flour is cooked (about a minute.) Slowly pour in milk continuously whisking until mixture is thickened and smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.