I bought a whole load of mushrooms last week because they were on sale. Riiight. Then I didn’t know what to do with them, so… surprise… I made Cream of Mushroom Soup.
Those close to me know that I’m a total fungophile. Every late summer to fall, we pile into the car and drive into the mountains to pick larch and aspen boletes, slippery jacks, and if we’re very, very lucky, the porcini (king boletes).
Mushroom picking is misunderstood in Canada. So misunderstood that even my former colleague, a freaking VP of a fortune 500 company, thought that mushrooms were vegetables (I loved proving him wrong) deducing that because you buy them in the vegetable section. Yea. Mention wild mushrooms here and you’ll immediately evoke images of hippies and VW vans (oddly enough, I owned one), whereas in Europe, many countries regard mushroom picking as a cherished national sport. I remember picking buckets and buckets of porcini in Haida Gwaii, a mushroom lover’s heaven, while our neighboring campers looked on, completely bewildered and horrified that someone would do this, and certainly thought we we going to die horrible mushroom deaths right there in the campground…
It was crazy! Imagine loads and loads of king boletes growing right in the campground, with everyone, but us, absolutely oblivious to what they were! It’s like an Eastern European’s dream! Some campers even asked us to pose with our mushrooms, so they could bring the pictures home and show the nutters picking wild mushrooms. Needless to say, we gorged on amazing fresh king boletes for the entire week and clearly didn’t perish…
If you haven’t figured out already, I’m originally from Eastern Europe, and mushroom picking is in my genes. But take note, every year people do get sick by not identifying their mushrooms correctly. If you’re interested in picking, make sure you go with someone familiar with identification, or call up your local mycological society.
You can make it with store-bought, or wild mushrooms, depending on what’s available. Results will be much better when using wild, but let’s stick with what we have for now, k? Anyway, we’re a ways off from the mushroom season, but one can dream! Meanwhile, I still have 10lbs of mushrooms to get through…
- 1 tbs butter
- 4 shallots, or ¾ medium sweet onion, if available, finely chopped
- 6 cups while button mushrooms, roughly chopped
- approx 2-3 cups chicken broth
- 1 cup 2% milk
- 2 tbs 35% cream, or desired quantity, to taste
- 2 tbs freshly chopped chives
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- Melt the butten in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallots, or sweet onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring, or until translucent and golden brown. Add the mushrooms and continue cooking, until the moisture from the mushrooms is released and they start to brown, about 10 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the chicken broth, 1 cup of the milk, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, puree the soup until smooth. If the soup is too thick for your liking, add more chicken broth and mix through.
- Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with cream and chipped chives.