Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thick Mushroom and Herb Soup

I think I would have a lot of trouble cooking without herbs. Some things can be altered or replaced, but there is nothing like the nutty, fresh, at time lemony and peppery flavor of herbs. They can turn any meal into something special and I find it bland to cook without them.

Funny enough, I used to absolutely hate them as a child. Like most children, I had a few strong dislikes for certain foods, but none greater than the fear of herbs, or 'bouts verts', as I used to call them in French. I would drive my mom crazy and pick them out one by one in tomato sauces, salads or any other sauce where I knew my mom had probably tried to conceal them. I also used to be difficult with soup.. and would only accept to eat it if I was promised it was 'potage', and not soup. This makes me seem like quite the difficult child but those were the two things I really took issue with. This herbed-filled mushroom soup is thus a little wink to my childhood years and to how things can change for the better.

Recipe (for 4), adapted from the Soup Bible
2 ounces of smoked bacon
1 onion, finely chopped
12 ounces of combined portobello and cremini mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups of good meat stock
1 small wine glass of dry sherry wine
2 tablespoons of combined rosemary, thyme and marjoram - stems removed
1 teaspoon of dried italian seasoning
Salt and freshly ground pepper
A couple spoonfulls of thick yogurt or sour cream

Roughly chop the bacon and place in a large saucepan. Cook slowly until the fat renders from the bacon. Add the onions and saute gently until the onions become translucent and soft. Add the mushrooms to the pan. Cover and sweat until their liquid has run out and they have reduced in size. Add the sherry, stock, as well as the fresh and dry herbs. Lightly season with salt and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 10 to 12 minutes. Process the soup in a food processor or blender until smooth but still a little chunky. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper and transfer to the saucepan to heat through. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or yogurt and garnish with a parsley leaf. Enjoy!


sarah j. gim said...

i don't have problems with any herbs EXCEPT cilantro, which is a slight problem since i LOVE mexican food and cilantro is definitely not an herb you can hide

Andrea said...

I love that story. I can just imagine a little girl picking through her tomato sauce to find the offending bits of green. I love herbs as well, but you know what I really love? Mushrooms. This looks sooooo good!

Erik said...

It's amazing how different our tastes can become between childhood and adulthood. I always hated mushrooms, and picked them out of anything I would eat.
Even as an adult I try to at least be open minded about foods I normally don't eat, to see if I can prepare them differently and possibly enjoy them in a new way. Recipes like this help with that. Nice post!

NĂºria said...

Mmmmm a delicious soup! And very original too!
When I was a kid, my mom and grandmom mainly used herbs when we were sick... just for infusions. They would cure it all :D

Maria said...

I love herbs, they make everything taste better. The soup looks excellent!

Alejandra said...

This soup sounds really wonderful! I just saw it on tastespotting and clicked right away. Will definitely be trying out. I love a good mushroom soup.

Lo said...

Thank goodness you outgrew that phase! This looks fabulous -- and I'd agree that herbs add an awful lot to any sort of cooking!

Darius T. Williams said...

Can I tell you just how much I'm loving this? This looks really good!


Caviar and Codfish said...

Oh wonderful, now I know what to do with all the mushrooms in my fridge. I can't remember if I liked herbs or not as a kid... I was actually one of those rare kids who liked practically everything. I used to get upset when all the kids were talking about the foods they hated in class and I couldn't think of anything!!

Kevin said...

I really enjoy using herbs as well. This herbed mushroom soup sounds good!

Dee said...

My husband's like that with coriander. He's now learned to tolerate them cooked. The soup looks and sounds great. Love the sherry in it.

Manggy said...

Filipino cooking is not particularly known for its use of herbs-- so we're very well-adapted :) Also rare here is mushroom soup without the usual overload of cream. I love what you've done here, and the shot is beautiful!

Chocolate Shavings said...

Manggy: My thoughts exactly! This recipe caught my eye because it concentrated on true mushroom flavor, and not on overload of cream!

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