Just Mushroom Soup

Do you ever get sick of hearing me talk about movies? I know that half of my posts are a discussion of whatever movie I saw last, but Kramer and I take the Oscars very seriously, so we’re determined to see as many nominated movies as possible! Most recently, we saw The King’s Speech. I have to say, when we finally went to watch it, I was a little skeptical about how much I would like it. I will admit that I am partial to action movies; they are my first love and I don’t care who knows it. For example, Kramer and I are very excited to see The Mechanic, starring the incomparable Jason Statham and Ben Foster. After knowing that about me, you’d understand why I wasn’t in a huge rush to see The King’s Speech. However, I absolutely adored it. Colin Firth killed it; I have never seen him play such a lofty role and he really gave it his all. Geoffrey Rush, of course, was phenomenal, as always. The two of them had incredible chemistry on screen, and they each put forth such a fantastic performance. It’s no surprise that the film has been receiving so many awards and that Colin Firth won the Golden Globe for Best Actor this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he picked up the Oscar for this role, too, although I would love to see Jesse Eisenberg win (but I know that probably won’t happen).

Either way: soup! Kramer has recently discovered his love for mushrooms. I have always loved mushrooms, and I am of the belief that they make almost any savory food even better. Kramer’s first mind-changing experience with mushrooms came from Craftsteak in Las Vegas. We had the hen of the woods mushrooms, which were just out of this world. I’m sure they were cooked in butter or truffles or truffle butter or something equally delicious – maybe some kind of animal fat? Either way, from then on, Kramer has been a mushroom advocate. Nothing has made me happier as far as his culinary tastes, because mushrooms are so versatile and delicious. When he suggested that I make a simple mushroom soup, though, I was kind of surprised. That’s a whole lot of mushroom flavor! I went with it, hoping that he would be as enthusiastic about mushrooms on this day as the day that he first had hen of the woods mushrooms. Indeed, he was, and finished his whole bowl (and went back for seconds, if I recall correctly). The secret to this soup is to use some dried porcini mushrooms, which, after soaking them, gives you a wonderful broth that allows the mushrooms to really shine. It’s almost like a compounded mushroom flavor – what’s not to like? There’s nothing fancy about this soup, aside from using two different kind of mushrooms (and in truth, you can use as many different kinds as you like). It’s simple, yet delicious, creamy, and did I mention completely vegetarian? It freezes well and can keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 4-5 days, so it’s the perfect weeknight meal for when you want to eat light but still be satisfied.

Just Mushroom SoupJust Mushroom Soup
Mince your shallot.

Just Mushroom Soup
And your garlic.

Just Mushroom Soup
Boil your water to pour over your dried mushrooms.

Just Mushroom Soup
Pour the boiling water over the mushrooms, cover, and allow to sit for 1-2 hours.

Just Mushroom Soup
Strain the mushrooms from the liquid.

Just Mushroom Soup
Reserve the liquid from your dried mushrooms – it will really add that extra flavor to your soup.

Just Mushroom Soup
Clean your fresh mushrooms by peeling away any dirt with a small, sharp paring knife. I’ve read that you don’t want to wash fresh mushrooms, as it takes away some of their flavor. Instead, just wipe them with a paper towel or a cloth to get off any dirt.

Just Mushroom Soup
Saute your shallots, then add in your mushrooms. Cook the mushrooms for a few minutes, and add another 1/2 tablespoon of butter or so, if you’re so inclined, as I often am. Add in the garlic and stir for a minute, until fragrant.

Just Mushroom Soup
The mushrooms are ready when they start to brown slightly.

Just Mushroom Soup
Add in the rest of the ingredients, except for the crème fraiche. Cook for 10 minutes or so, until the mushrooms are tender.

Just Mushroom Soup
Puree the soup and add in the tempered crème fraiche. Return to the pot to reheat.

Just Mushroom Soup
Serve, garnish with some mushrooms, and enjoy.

Just Mushroom Soup
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3-4
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups fresh mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed, and sliced thinly (save a few for a garnish)
  • ½ cup dried porcini mushrooms (reconstituted in 2 cups boiling water)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup crème fraiche (or sour cream, but crème fraiche is so much better and can be found in any supermarket)
  1. First, you need to "rehydrate" your dried porcini mushrooms. Place the mushrooms in a medium sized bowl. In a small pot, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then pour the boiling water over the dried mushrooms. Cover and allow them to sit for 1-2 hours. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid, but reserve the liquid to add to your soup later. Strain the liquid to remove any dirt that may have been lingering on the mushrooms.
  2. Now, you're ready to cook. Heat the butter over medium heat in a medium sized pot. Saute the shallots until they are translucent, about 5 minutes, then add in the white wine and cook until it is reduced by half. Add in the garlic and stir, for a minute, until fragrant. Add in the fresh mushrooms, the reconstituted mushrooms, thyme, paprika, salt, and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes or so, until the mushrooms start to become browned. Add another pad of butter, should you be so inclined.
  3. Add in the porcini mushroom broth and the vegetable broth. Turn the heat up to high, and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce to medium or medium-high, depending on your burner, and cook for 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender. Remove the soup from the heat, and using either a food processor, a blender, or an immersion blender, puree your soup in batches. Don't worry if it isn't completely smooth - a few bits of mushroom in the soup adds a nice texture. Just puree it enough for it to resemble a soup and not a stew.
  4. Return the pureed soup to the pot and turn the heat to medium-low to keep warm. Place the ¼ cup of crème fraiche in a small bowl, and add about ½ cup of the soup to it. Whisk to combine. This will temper the crème fraiche, so that when you add it, it goes in smoothly and doesn't form clumps. Add the tempered crème fraiche to the soup and stir to combine. Taste, and add salt or pepper if needed. Serve into 3 or 4 bowls, depending on if you are eating it as a meal or as a side, garnish with some of the fresh sliced mushrooms you set aside earlier, and enjoy.


19 Responses

  1. Yelena says:

    I’m so engrossed in the Oscars, too, and I think watching all of the nominated best pictures is a great, great idea! Also – I’ve been looking for a good mushroom soup recipe for a LONG time (I <3 mushrooms) and this looks to be just the ticket. Thanks so much! I can't wait to try it :-)

  2. laura says:

    This sounds amazing! Im going to the supermarket and then home to try….

  3. Jen says:

    This looks so good, I wish there was less snow so we could get to the store! I remember having a smoked gouda and chester county mushroom soup at a friend’s wedding and ever since I’ve been sold on mushroom soups.

    I saw The King’s Speech with my mom and I loved it. It was truly amazing. Colin Firth + Geoffrey Rush = some magical filmy awesomeness. Definitely a film I will be seeing again.

    • Sydney says:

      Jen: I’m glad you liked it, too! I think it’s going to be between this and The Social Network for Best Picture, but it seem that I am always wrong, so you never know! Also – this snow needs to stop. NOW.

  4. absolute comfort in a bowl. yum

  5. Katie says:

    This looks amazing. I must have it immediately. Going to raid the grocery store right now!

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Sydney Kramer. Sydney Kramer said: Just Mushroom Soup: http://crepesofwrath.net/2011/01/26/just-mushroom-soup/ […]

  7. Anthony says:

    I love mushrooms, and this soup looks very tasty. Do you think sour cream coud substitute for the creme fraiche, or would that make it too sour?

    BTW, was the blog down? Just now I received two weeks’ worth of posts in one batch. Not that I object; I just thought you had been too busy to post. :)

    • Sydney says:

      @Anthony: I think my RSS might have been broken – Kramer somehow got it fixed last night (don’t ask me how). Sorry about the bombardment of posts! I think you can definitely use sour cream in place of the creme fraiche.

      @Lauren: I know you’ll love it!

  8. Now you have me even more convinced to see the King’s Speech. This soup looks fantastic.

  9. Love the soup recipe! The name fits it perfectly. I like how you used both dry and fresh – the dried adding a rich flavour and the fresh adding a nice texture. Using an Enoki as garnish would look pretty.
    – Brittany

  10. Dana says:

    Oh I bet this is tasty! Perfectly earthy and warming for blizzardy days like these.

  11. Adam says:

    *sixish years passes*

    My friend turned up to an event having made this years ago, and I demanded the recipe and made it a few times since. The problem is now, unlike then, I live in Japan, and finding the ingredients for this is like a quest for the Holy Grail. First you need to squeeze blood from a stone to fork over the money for porcini mushrooms. Similar for shallots, they simply don’t use them here – they are ten times the price of onions and only sold in fancy department store food markets. Crème fraiche doesn’t exist, but you can find tiny jars of sour cream in some specialist food stores. I also went hunting for thyme for two days – and failed. I found an empty shelf labelled with thyme, but was told they wouldn’t be in stock for a few days. In the end made do with marjoram (which I’d never heard of but looks similar and the end result tasted the same IMO). On the plus side, there are so many different kinds of mushrooms available. I went with shiitake.

    If I make this again here, I’ll probably make do with onions instead of shallots, and either forego the thyme or try using dried thyme, which is readily available, or find a Japanese substitute. I’m not sure the sour cream can be substituted though. Maybe I can work out how to *make* sour cream…

    Japanese food is delicious, and living here is great, but sometimes cooking western recipes that appear simple is a nightmare because of the lack of basic ingredients.

    Thanks for the delicious recipe – this is one of my favourite soups. :-)

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