July 23, 2011
This is a great, and fairly easy to make, mushroom soup. It’s creamy and earthy, and the leeks actually help to bring out the more subtle mushroom flavor.
One sort of unique thing about this soup is that you make the stock for it from scratch. I’ve never actually made stock before (please don’t get too upset), but I’ve heard homemade stock is much better than the stuff you buy at the store. One of these days, I’ll have to commit to saving up some chicken bones so I can compare.
I can tell you that the mushroom stock for this recipe is delicious, and you get it pretty cheap, for the price of a carrot, an onion and some thyme, along with the stems of the mushrooms you bought, which you weren’t going to serve anyway, right? After boiling those ingredients in water for a while, you strain those ingredients out and put the mushroom caps, and sauteed leeks, into the liquid. That, together with some cream and white wine, is the soup. Stock, mushroom caps, leeks, white wine and cream.
You may ask why you wouldn’t simply make a soup with all of the ingredients, i.e. the carrots, onions, leeks, mushroom caps, mushroom stems, etc. Perhaps even puree them together? I was thinking about this myself, but by making a separate stock you really increase the flavor intensity of the resulting dish. The ingredients used for the stock, if you try tasting them, are a bland, vaguely flavored mush. Still strangely appealing, but not something you’d want as part of a meal.
The other reason is that there is something fitting about having this be a chunky, thin soup rather than a more velvety, thick, smooth soup. I’m not sure why, but the rustic texture of a soup with chopped vegetables in it seems to go better with the woodsy mushroom flavor. Maybe I’m imagining that you can make this in some homestead where you might have access to the woods, but not to a blender or food processor.