If you’re an avid reader of our little blog (bless you), you may have noticed the array of mushroom soup pictures on the side that have gone without a recipe. I figure its time to remedy this. This is yet another perfect recipe from Dorie Greenspan’s Around My French Table. Ok, near perfect, I made a couple tweaks to taste. The thing that really sets this recipe apart from other mushroom soups is the beautiful raw salad that is served amid the warm, creamy soup. The blend of textures, which subtly change as the salad spends time basking in the soup, is truly genius. The ingredients are humble, yet they form a dish elegant enough to serve for company. Ok, I’ve made you wait long enough as it is, on to the recipe!
Paris Mushroom Soup
Adapted from “Around My French Table”
For the Soup:
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 lb white and brown mushrooms, sliced (buy 2 lbs, you’ll need a few for the salad as well)
1/2 cup white wine
2 parsley stems
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small rosemary sprig
6 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup heavy cream
For the Optional Salad:
6-8 mushrooms, sliced paper thin
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 tbsps chives, snipped with kitchen shears into tiny rounds
1/4 cup crème fraiche or plain greek yogurt
In a large soup pot, melt the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onions for about 5 minutes until softened, then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to soften and release their liquids. Increase the heat to high and cook until the majority of the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms being to brown slightly. Pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all the lovely bits and cook until almost completely evaporated. Season with salt and white pepper.
Add the herbs and stock and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium-low and allow the soup to simmer 20 minutes. Remove rosemary and thyme stems (the leaves will have fallen off at this point).
While the soup is simmering, let’s make the salad. Slice your mushrooms wafer-thin. Take your time and use a sharp knife. In a small bowl mix together the herbs, scallions and mushrooms and season with a tiny bit of white pepper. Don’t add salt until a moment before you’re ready to plate, otherwise it will begin to draw water from your veggies and soften their crisp texture.
Using an immersion blender (or working in small batches with your blender/food processor) puree the soup until its very smooth. Time for the inevitable finicky portion of a french recipe: strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve for an optimal, creamy texture. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Mine needed a good bit more white pepper and another pinch of salt. Return soup to pan and stir in the cream, which I added just for the velvety mouthfeel only cream can provide and keep over very low heat until ready to serve. Alternatively, you could stir in a few tablespoons of creme fraiche/ yogurt or just leave it out entirely.
To plate, pile up a bit of salad in the center of a low flat bowl. Carefully pour the soup around the outside. I’d recommend transferring some soup to a liquid measuring cup or gravy bowl and doing this right at the table for easy pouring and a lovely presentation. Allow guests to top the soup with as much crème fraiche as they desire and an additional sprig of chive for good measure. Très magnifique!