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Friday, November 11, 2005

Wild Mushroom Bisque


This is a recipe that I found in Martha Stewart Living and then did some tweaking. The original recipe called for twice as much oil and butter, cream instead of half and half and, apples and turnips. Call me unadventurous, but putting apples and turnips in this bisque did not appeal to me at all. I have to admit, though, I'm curious to try it....but not curious enough to invest the time and money (wild mushrooms are expensive!).

Other changes I made were to reserve the soaking liquid from the dried mushrooms (why waste such a flavorful broth??) and adding a touch of truffle oil. This soups smells soooo good while it's cooking. Wild mushrooms cooking and truffle oil are two of my favorite cooking smells.....almost an aphrodisiac.

Speaking of wild mushrooms being expensive, you can use any wild mushrooms you like and combine them with regular button mushrooms - even a small amount of wild mushrooms, especially along with the dried, can add a lot of flavor.

Wild Mushroom Bisque

1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms (or any other dried mushroom)
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter or olive oil
5 shallots, peeled and sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
1 white onion
4 leeks, trimmed of roots and greens, washed well and sliced (it's good without leeks too - DH is not crazy about them, so I often skip them altogether)
1/2 lb. shiitakes, stemmed and sliced
1/4 lb. chanterelles
1/4 lb. honey mushrooms
1/4 lb. cremini, sliced
1/4 lb. oyster mushrooms, torn into pieces
salt and freshly ground pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme (I often use dried thyme - about 1/2 teaspoon)
1 bay leaf
1-2 cans vegetable stock
1/2 cup madeira or dry sherry
1 cup or less half and half
a splash of truffle oil (optional)

Soak porcini mushrooms in warm water until soft, about 20 minutes. Reserve mushroom liquid and squeeze mushrooms gently, chop coarsely and set aside. Pour mushroom liquid into another vestle, being careful to leave the sediment behind.

In a large saucepan (or Dutch oven) over low heat, melt butter/add oil. Add shallots, garlic, onion and leeks, cook until soft, about 20 minutes. If at any point there doesn't seem to be enough oil to keep things from sticking, add a little wine or broth and continue to cook. Add all mushrooms except porcini and cook for 5-10 minutes, until slightly soft. Season lightly and add leaves of thyme sprig. Add bay leaf and cover with stock (you may not use it all). Simmer for 30 minutes, adding porcini in last 10. Remove from heat.

Remove bay leaf and puree soup in a food processor in small batches. (Or, use your immersion blender.) Place in a clean pot and reheat gently. (I just had to include that instruction from Martha's recipe because it cracks me up. Why in the world would you need a clean pot???) Add sherry, half and half and remaining thyme leaves. Add more stock if soup is too thick. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve in warm bowls with chives as garnish.

Delicious!

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