So proud of our Mushroom Soup! My great friend and cooking partner, Emre Asik Hasan, from Istanbul Turkey, and I combined our ideas and together created a perfect mushroom soup….or at least in our opinion. The occasion for which we prepared this beautiful soup was for our second to last day at school. We were encouraged to invite two family members to taste our food and this was also our graded final kitchen practical day for buffet and catering.
Emre and I wanted to create two dishes: A soup and a salad. At Le Cordon Bleu, many of our mystery basket days are driven by what is leftover in the walk-ins. I had decided to do a roasted beet and citrus salad with a vinaigrette dressing since there were lots of beets, oranges, and grapefruits leftover.
Emre wanted to do mushroom soup since there were tons of mushrooms leftover. The school wanted to get rid of all the food since there was going to be a break. We probably used 2 lbs. of mushrooms.
Instead of using chicken stock like most recipes, we took the stems off the button mushrooms and the stems off the shitake’s, put them into a stock pan, added 4 cups of water and half of an onion quartered with a single small sprig of thyme, a little pinch of salt and pepper, brought the water to a boil, then turned down to a low simmer, and let the water simmer for an hour or more. We would push down the stems and onions every so often so that the flavor would extract out. This made an amazing dark brown rich looking broth.
In a separate stock pan, we sautéed the mushroom caps in butter and shallots and a little pinch of salt and pepper until soft and brown. Then we added about 1/2 cup of white wine to the mushroom caps so that they would absorb this flavor first. Once all the liquid was absorbed, then we strained the mushroom stem broth and added this broth to the mushroom caps, brought that to a boil, then reduced to low simmer, and cooked on top of the stove for an hour or so. Then we added a little butter at the end to enrich the soup broth. Then we cooled the soup down by setting the soup stock pan into the sink that was partially filled with ice and water. We stored it over night in the walk-in refrigerator to allow the flavors to build.
The next day, we skimmed the solidified fat off the top and discarded that fat. Then reheated the soup, added a little minced fresh tarragon, since it needed a little sweetness to lift its dense earthiness, then pureed the soup until it was of fine consistency. After all that, we added heavy cream, a little at a time, then adjusted the seasonings (salt and pepper) until we had the right consistency, flavor, and texture we wanted.
The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it was delicate, earthy, with a hint of sweetness on the finish, due to the tarragon, and I only added about 1 Tbsp. of fresh minced tarragon.
The things to keep in mind are:
Less is more. We used one sprig of thyme in the broth making, then discarded that sprig when we strained the broth. We used small amounts of onion and shallots and tarragon. This is an earthy, simple soup,so you want to be sparingly in your use of other herbs and flavoring agents. You want to enhance but not overpower. Taste often so you can readjust seasonings. You can always add but you can’t take out once you’ve overdone it. Email me with questions and let me know how it goes.