Monday, October 10, 2011

Fresh from the Greenmarket: Creamless Mushroom Soup

Most creamy mushroom soups have exactly that—cream—in them. In an effort to create a full-flavored, hearty soup that is both rich and creamy, without the addition of any wine, milk, or cream, I had to think carefully about the ingredients I was going to use.

It's been a little crazy around here, with birthdays (mine!) and weddings (family!). While I've been doing a bit of cooking, I've been eating out a bit more - thus no exciting recipes just yet. But, with a new computer and Photoshop suite, just you wait. Exciting things are in store...

In the meantime, enjoy one of my seasonal favorites, made with ingredients fresh from the farmers' market.

Choosing good-quality, flavorful, and fresh mushrooms at the market was key. I had very fragrant hen of the woods mushrooms to use, and the meaty texture helped give the soup body. Instead of wine, I bolstered the flavor with a bit of agave syrup and a dash of soy sauce. While I used chicken stock, for added flavor, you can use vegetable stock instead for a vegan/vegetarian soup. I also included a bit of flour as a thickener, but it is not necessary, so leave it out if you want a gluten-free dish.

Creamless Mushroom Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 large carrot, finely diced
2 small garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, chopped
7 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms, chopped
10 ounces fresh wild mushrooms, such as hen of the woods, oyster, or chanterelle
Freshly ground pepper
6 cups chicken stock
1 tablespoon flour, optional
2 teaspoons agave syrup, plus more to taste
2 teaspoons soy sauce, plus more to taste
Prosciutto, thinly sliced, for garnish, optional
Fresh baby spinach, in a chiffonade, optional

In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When shimmering, add the onion, carrot, and garlic. Sauté until translucent, about 8 minutes. 

Add all the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 4 minutes, then add 1/2 cup chicken stock. Cook until the mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Add the rest of the stock and the flour and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

In a blender or with an immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth. Add the agave syrup and soy sauce and stir well. Add additional seasonings, to taste.

While hot, serve in bowls and garnish with prosciutto and spinach*, if desired. Serve immediately.

*Note: While I served the soup with a garnish of proscuitto and a spinach chiffonade; you could also try a dollop of sour cream, candied walnuts, and chives, or crisp bacon lardons and minced parsley.

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Serves 4

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