Cream of Mushroom Soup

From Knox Gardner

Another soup in from Seattle! Says Knox: This recipe is adapted from Hopvine chef Michael Congdon’s cookbook “S.O.U.P.S.: Seattle’s Own Undeniably Perfect Soups.” I can’t think of a better place to go in Seattle for a consistently great bowl of soup and a beer.

As the founder of SoupSwap.com, one of the things people are always asking me for is recipes that will make six quarts. That’s about twice the amount of soup that a normal cookbook recipe will make, but if you’re going to go through the process of making soup, why not a make a big potful and freeze some?

This recipe will make six quarts and you may well find yourself adding a second pot and with a bit left over. It’s important to mix the two pots together at the end to ensure consistency between the containers you might be freezing to take to your Soup Swap.”

Ingredients

2 large baking potatoes
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons truffle oil
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
3-4 shallots
3-4 cloves of garlic
1 ½ cup cream sherry
3 pounds mushrooms, chopped
8 cups vegetable stock
black peppercorns
salt
8 bay leaves
4 cups cream
several sprigs of thyme

Preparation
Bake potatoes at 500ºF for 30-45 minutes or microwave them. When a fork or knife can be inserted smoothly, they are done. Let them cool.

Melt the butter in a large stock pan, and add the truffle oil. Add the garlic, shallots, and onions, stirring occasionally until they begin to caramelize—this could take as long as 20 minutes. When the onions are soft, gooey, and brown, add ½ cup of the sherry and make sure to get all the tasty bits that may be stuck at the bottom of the pan.

Now add the mushrooms and the rest of the sherry. Cover for 5-10 minutes to let the mushrooms reduce.

Add 4 cups of the stock, along with 1 tablespoon peppercorns, 1 tablespoon salt, and the bay leaves. Cook for 30 minutes or until all the ingredients are soft.

In batches, puree the mushroom and onion mix while adding the potatoes for more structure, putting the resulting mix into a clean pot if possible. Adding only a few ladles at a time to a blender or food processor (too much and you’ll end up with hot soup all over your kitchen!), alternate between the hot mushroom mixture and pieces of potatoes with additional stock.

Once the mushrooms, potatoes, and stock have been blended together (and you may have two pots going now…) add the four cups of cream along with approximately 1/8 cup fresh, chopped thyme. Bring to a simmer and adjust the taste with salt and pepper.

Ideally, you’d chill this soup for a day or two for the flavor to develop, but if you don’t have time, it ought to still taste delicious.

As with all cream soups, it’s important to reheat slowly and gently. Present with a drop or two of truffle oil.

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