Happy New Year, Friends!
I hope you all rang in the New Year with some good times. I know I sure did – a few too many ‘good times’, if you catch my meaning. But that’s a post for another time. Like right after I’m done this one.
January is always a time for me to make grandiose resolutions about losing weight, especially after all the indulgences of the holidays. This year is no different, but because I’m crap at keeping myself on a diet-and-exercise regime, I’m going to try to approach it a little differently this year. As in, I’m going to step up my exercise – since I’m not working, I have no excuse for not at least doing a yoga video or zipping over to the pool at lunchtime every day – and try to eat healthier, smaller portions at least during the week. I figure we can leave the fun foods and booze for the weekends, like grownups.
So Paris Mushroom Soup is totally in-line for my new outlook – it is a lovely, healthy soup, and both Jon and I are mad about mushroom soup, so this was an absolute winner. In the past, my go-to mushroom soup has been Balthasar Cream of Mushroom Soup via Smitten Kitchen (again, tweaked because I’m like that), but Dorie’s is even easier and since it’s blended, it seems like a cream soup, but isn’t. Swoon! Plus it has the bonus of having large chunks of mostly-raw mushrooms swanning about! Bon-JOUR!
It always seems we associate soup with cold weather and it’s been a particularly chilly couple of days here in Toronto, so nothing fits the cozy-bill better than mushroom soup, in my opinion.
And my mother is probably reeling in disbelief that I even eat mushroom soup. I was strictly a Campbell’s Tomato Soup kid growing up and don’t even try to feed me nasty mushroom soup! But truly, everything is better homemade, isn’t it?
However, I’m going to leave you with the mushroom soup that I usually use, with my own adjustments included, which means it’s not actually ‘cream’ – I use skim milk ‘cuz that’s usually all I have on hand – but it is definitely also delicious.
CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP – adapted from Balthasar Cream of Mushroom Soup via Smitten Kitchen
- 1 ounce dried mushrooms (porcini, morels, or shitakes)
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 sprigs of rosemary
- 4 sprigs of sage
- 2-3 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 2 lbs mushrooms (Karla’s note: my favourite mushrooms to use are a combination of portobellos and white button or brown mushrooms)
- 6 cups beef broth
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (I’d say this is optional and probably makes a difference especially if your not using cream, but if I’m feeling chunky, there’s no way this goes in.)
- Soak the dry mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, until plump.
- Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove grit and reserve, along with the reconstituted mushrooms, until needed.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Bundle the rosemary and sage together and tie with kitchen twine. When the oil is hot, add the herb bundle and sizzle for a few minutes on both sides to infuse the oil.
- Add the shallots, garlic, salt and pepper and cook until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.
- Turn the flame to high and add the mushrooms.
- Cook for 10 minutes, during which the mushrooms will give off their liquid (which should evaporate quickly due to the high heat) and deflate significantly. Stir occasionally.
- Add the broth and the dried mushrooms along with the soaking water.
- Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the herbs, then add the cream and butter. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot and keep at a very low simmer until ready to serve.