My local grocery store occasionally carries a fantastic selection of fresh mushrooms and, as luck would have it, they had a bunch of them the other day. I picked up some shitake, oyster and enoki mushrooms, thinking I’d make some soup with the first two and maybe use the enoki’s in a salad or udon noodle dish. As time ran short this weekend, it turned out that they all ended up in one crazy delicious cream of mushroom soup.
Now, I made the stock for this from scratch but you don’t have to; some store-bought vegetable stock will work just fine. If you are using canned or boxed stock, a low-sodium variety is always a good idea with soup because you don’t want the dish too salty as the stock reduces. You can always add salt but you can’t take it away.
Honestly, you’ll cut this recipe time in half, if not more, by using ready-made stock. But be sure to leave the stems on the mushrooms and add them all to your soup – you don’t want to waste all that mushroomy goodness.
Remember – most of my measurements are approximate. Feel free to mix and match the mushrooms; I ended up adding some white button mushrooms that I had on hand.
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup Recipe
- 3 ounces enoki mushrooms
- 4 ounces shitake mushrooms
- 4 ounces oyster mushrooms
- 4 ounces white mushrooms
- Wipe clean all of the mushrooms. Remove and roughly chop stems for stock. Slice mushroom caps for soup
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 carrot, unpeeled but scrubbed & roughly chopped
- 2 medium leeks, dark greens removed, roughly chopped and rinsed well for use in stock, white and light green chopped and rinsed well for use in soup
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon good-quality dried thyme (I used thyme that I dried in the fall) divided in half for stock and soup.
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup flour
- 2 cups dry white wine (I used Chardonnay)
- 2 cups half and half
- Salt and Pepper
First, the stock:
In a stock pot, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add mushroom stems, chopped carrot and leek greens. Add 1 teaspoon fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme. Add 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Cook for about 15 minutes, until veggies are softened. Add 8 cups of water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour. Remove from heat and strain, discarding solids and reserving the stock.
A shot of the leeks for the soup – this is the size I chopped them:
Now, the soup:
In another large stock pot, over medium heat, melt the butter. Add leeks and garlic and cook for about 10-15 minutes, or just until the edges of the leeks start to brown. Add sliced mushroom caps and continue cooking for about 10 more minutes. Add flour and continue cooking for 2-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
Right about now, you have what looks like a big, gloppy mess in your pan, but you want to turn the flour golden just a bit. Trust me on this one and keep going to the next step.
Add white wine and stir well, scraping the bottom of the pan as you go. Continue stirring and scraping until you have a smooth mushroom base for your soup.
Add the strained stock (or prepared stock, if that’s what you’re using) and the rest of the thyme and stir well. Taste and add about 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 25-30 minutes.
Add half and half and heat just long enough to heat it back up, but don’t boil it once the half and half has been added.
Remove from heat and serve.
Now, if I had to do it again, I’ll admit the enoki mushrooms didn’t bring a lot to this dish. They don’t really have a strong mushroom flavor and, after cooking them as long as I did with the other mushrooms, they were really over-cooked. Enoki mushrooms don’t need this much cooking time but again, I had them and, pressed for time as I was to use them, I threw them in. This soup was delicious anyway, trust me.
Just a couple of tips here: you want to turn the flour golden to light brown, to toast it a bit. This eliminates a “floury” flavor in your soup and creates a nice roux. Also, don’t overcook the mushrooms in the initial step – they’re going to simmer a bit in the end stage and add that beautiful umami flavor then. Great soups are built on layers of flavor, so don’t rush it.
Creamy, rich, a little decadent with the butter and half and half, but oh, so worth it!