Wild Mushroom Soup
The only thing that really matters when constructing a good soup is to pack in the flavor every which way possible, and when using mushrooms it’s hard to get this wrong. This soup can be made with 100% wild mushrooms but it is also quite good with domestic mushrooms or a mix of the two. It is a good idea to use both dried and fresh mushrooms as the dried mushrooms render a very flavorful broth. The best way to build the mushroom flavor is to cover 3 bases, the first is the dried mushrooms as mentioned. The next is the bulky mushrooms which can be wild chanterelles or portabellas etc, and then finished off with a few other mushrooms to offer a contrast. For example: if I had less than a pound of chanterelles I may throw in some cremini mushrooms or if I only have a few wild mushrooms I could supplement with the portabellas. The truffle oil will add an incredible amount of flavor and if you are lucky enough to have fresh truffles use those too. The soup will of course change in flavor depending on what you use but it will always turn out good.
Wild Mushroom Soup
1.5 lbs mixed fresh wild or domestic mushrooms
1 oz dried wild or porcini mushrooms
1 yellow onion
6-8 whole garlic cloves
1 small Fennel bulb
½ stick butter
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
half & half or cream
Truffle oil or sub olive oil
Bring 2 cups of water to a simmer and pour over the dried mushrooms in a bowl, cover and let sit.
Meanwhile, let’s go ahead and prep the rest of the ingredients to make things easy. Chop the onion and remove the garlic cloves from their husks but leave them whole. Remove stems and bottom of fennel bulb and roughly cut into chunks. Coarsely chop the fresh mushrooms as well.
Add ½ stick of butter to a Dutch oven or large soup pot and bring to medium-high heat. Add the onion when butter begins to foam and cook until the onion it begins to brown. Turn heat to low, add the fennel and garlic cloves.
Continue to cook until the onions break down and are nice and caramelized, (usually between 5-10 minutes).
Add in the fresh mushrooms and sprinkle with 1 tsp of salt. Stir together and increase heat to medium-high, let cook for a few minutes before adding the dried mushrooms with their liquid. Also, add in the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook covered for 30 minutes.
Remove pot from heat and remove lid to cool for 5-10 minutes. An immersion blender is very helpful to puree the soup, otherwise use a blender. Taste and season with salt as needed. Ladle the soup into cups and drizzle with a little cream, some truffle oil and cracked pepper. If you happen to have fresh truffles, grate those on top too.
Serve right away.
Makes approx. 6 appetizer or lunch portions