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!