In much of the US, the autumn weather has started to creep in. A crispness to the air, with scents of spice and richness on your palate. Not so much in Texas. We’re still experiencing summer. Granted it’s not swealtering – but it won’t feel like fall here for another month or so.
In the meantime, I’m going to play pretend. I’m going to eat warm, savory, soothing dishes that are totally appropriate for enjoying beside a window looking out over multicolored foliage. To further this game, I’m going to dive into a marathon of season 1 of the NBC drama, Parenthood & my pretend boyfriend, Peter Krause. He’s yummy, no?
This sherried mushroom soup is just the dish for my faux fall. Mushrooms have such an earthy and sensual flavor. Mushrooms can be paired with big flavors or can hang out in a mellow creamy dish just fine. Mushrooms are dependable, they are hearty and simple at the same time – mushrooms remind me of Peter Krause in that way. I bet he is hearty yet simple.
My Dad does not enjoy mushrooms, and I’m thinking he won’t enjoy this post. Because I used the word sensual, and because I keep talking about Peter Krause. Sorry Dad.
Despite his distaste for mushrooms, my Dad actually enjoyed this soup. I think you’ll enjoy it too – the best part is that it’s very simple to make.
Recipe Source: Anthony Bourdain’s Les Halles Cookbook
6 tbsp/75 g butter
1 small onion, thinly sliced
12 ounces/340 g button mushrooms (Or baby bellas)
4 cups/900 ml light chicken stock or broth
1 sprig of flat parsley
Salt and pepper
2 ounces/56 ml high-quality sherry
In the medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons/28 g of the butter over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms and the remaining butter. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn’t take on any brown color. Stir in the chicken stock and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.
After an hour, remove the parsley and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Or you can use an immersion blender right in the soup pot – I think this is probably easier/less messy but may require more time to evenly blend the soup.
When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately.
*Notes from The Wasp – This soup keeps well. In fact the flavors get even better overnight. If you’re making to serve to guests, do yourself a favor and make it the night before.
Also – I would be remiss if I didn’t include a snippet of Tony Bourdains suggested “improvisations” from the cookbook. If you don’t have a copy of his Les Halles cookbook, you really should pick one up. It’s a great read.
To be read in Anthony Bourdain’s sarcastic narrative tone:
“To astound your guests with a Wild Mushroom Soup, simply replace some of those button mushrooms with a few dried cèpes or morels, which have been soaked until soft, drained, and squeezed. Not too many; the dried mushrooms will have a much stronger taste, and you don’t want to overwhelm the soup. Pan sear, on high heat, a single small, pretty, fresh chanterelle or morel for each portion, and then slice into a cute fan and float on top in each bowl.
And if you really want to ratchet your soup into pretentious (but delicious), drizzle a few tiny drops of truffle oil over the surface just before serving. Why the hell not? Everybody else is doing it.”