Last spring I discovered with delight wild morel mushrooms popping up in our backyard. After two winters of biking the American River bike trail looking for edible mushrooms, having been bit by the wild porcini bug on forays in Northern California, here they were, growing right in the yard! I consulted my trusty Mushrooms Demystified handbook, sent photos to my mycological society friend Beth, and was assured that these indeed were morels, which are not only safe to eat, but are considered a delicacy.
Tonight we finally got around to eating those morels picked last spring, in this exquisite cream of mushroom soup. Many thanks to local chef Evie Lieb for this wonderful recipe.
- ½ cup dried porcini (1 oz.)
- ½ cup dried morels (2 oz.)
- 3 cups hot water
- ½ lb fresh mushrooms of choice
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped (1 heaping Tbsp)
- 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
- 5 Tbsp butter
- 8 Tbsp flour
- Salt and Pepper
- 4 cups good quality chicken stock* (or vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
- ½ -1 cup heavy cream
- Splash of Madeira
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup snipped chives
1 Soak dried porcini and morels separately in 1 ½ cups hot water each for 30 min. Line strainer with paper towel and drain porcini liquid, reserving 1 cup. Drain morels, cut off stems and rinse well under running water. Discard morel liquid. Wipe fresh mushrooms, cut off ends and slice thinly. Set aside.
2 Heat butter in heavy saucepan and sauté shallots with garlic until well coated and slightly transparent (about 3 min.). Add fresh mushrooms and cook a few minutes more. Add dried mushrooms, place a round of buttered parchment paper over pan, cover and sweat over low heat for 10 min.
3 Uncover. Add flour to mushrooms, blending well. Cook for a couple of minutes. If mushrooms seem too dry after a minute or so, add a small mount of butter. Add stock and reserved cup of porcini liquid. Bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 min. Season with salt and pepper.
4 Add cream to taste, Madeira, chopped parsley and chives just before serving.
Chef's note: Mushroom soup may be prepared ahead. For best appearance, be sure to add cream and garnish just before serving.