Mushrooms may be vegetarians best food friend. They are earthy, providing umami, which is often hard to reproduce without meat. I have always loved mushrooms. When I was young, my mother would saute mushrooms in a pan on the grill with butter and seasonings. They would become so small, but I remember the amount of flavor hidden in each little bite. Yum! My university student union offers a vegetarian mushroom and brie soup on Tuesdays that has become a favorite for me, but it is a little too cheesy. I have been craving mushroom soup, my way. I looked at a few recipes, but in the end I literally made this up as I went along.
I wanted to use some dried mushrooms to enhance my stock. Unfortunately, both of my local stores (including the gourmet grocery store) were out. Thanks a lot, Thanksgiving! If you do have some dried mushrooms, you should boil them in your stock to enhance the mushroominess (I am completely making this word up!) of your soup. If you don’t have dried mushrooms, or don’t feel like using them, follow my adventure!
First, I chopped up three leeks from my last CSA (you could substitute regular onions or shallots here). They were sauteed in a lot of butter with minced garlic. Now, I should note that 2T of olive oil, butter or some other fat would be reasonable, but the Philosopher likes his butter. Since I recently made the butter from local cream, it somehow feels “healthy” 🙂
In the meantime, I put 4 cups of frozen vegetable stock (you could use any kind of stock) in a separate pot to defrost. I chopped 1 package of shiitake mushrooms and added them to the stock to enhance the flavor. I then began chopping one package of baby bella and 1/2 package of button mushrooms and slowly adding them to the leeks. Both pots simmered happily beside each other for a little while. After the stock began to taste mushroomy, I added the leek and mushroom mixture and returned to a boil. I added salt and pepper to taste and 1/2 t of both dried thyme and fresh rosemary (I had to dust the snow off the rosemary on my front porch-you could used dried rosemary, too). Unfortunately, the Philosopher was in a hurry, apparently he also plays basketball, so I stopped simmering and pureed half of the soup in the blender a little sooner than I would have liked. I added 1/4c of cream and a generous splash of white wine (you could substitute milk or lemon juice, if desired). I heated the soup a few more minutes and then served with a Gruyere Crostini (that means, I was too lazy to make a grilled cheese). I popped a thinly sliced piece of bread under the broiler with Gruyere cheese on top until the cheese was bubbly. This meal was ready in under 20 minutes.
Mmm, mushroomy! Not quite what my mom made, but certainly warming on the first snowy, cold day of winter! Soon, I promise to tell you about my adventures in bread baking.