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 wild mushroom soup.
Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup Recipe
While the dried mushrooms are soaking, prep the other ingredients to save time.
Special garnish idea: high quality green extra virgin olive oil is really quite something drizzled over this soup, along with some crusty bread for dipping.
You can swap out the sherry for Madeira if you'd like. Leave out all together if you are avoiding cooking with alcohol.
- 2 ounces of dried wild mushrooms
- 3 cups hot water
- 6 Tbsp butter, divided 3 Tbsp and 3 Tbsp
- 1/2 cup minced shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tbsp)
- ½ lb fresh cremini or button mushrooms, halved and sliced into 1/4-inch slices
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/3 cup dry sherry
- Salt and Pepper
- 4 cups good quality chicken stock (or vegetable broth for vegetarian version)
- 1 teaspoon herbes de provence
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
- ¼ cup snipped chives
1 Soak the dry mushrooms in water: Place dried wild mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with 3 cups of very hot water. Let sit for 30 minutes. Line a sieve with a dampened paper towel or coffee filter.
After 30 minutes strain the mushrooms through the filter, reserving at least one cup of the mushroom liquid. Roughly chop the reconstituted wild mushrooms.
2 Sauté shallots, garlic, mushrooms: Heat 3 Tbsp butter in heavy saucepan over medium low heat and sauté the shallots until softened and translucent, about 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute more.
Add the fresh mushrooms, increase the heat to medium high, and cook several minutes more. Add chopped wild mushrooms. Lower the heat, cover and let cook for 10 minutes.
3 Add sherry: After 10 minutes increase the heat to medium high, uncover and add 1/3 cup dry sherry to the pot.
4 Make a roux with butter and flour: Add remaining 3 Tbsp butter to the pot and stir until melted. Add the flour to the pot and stir until the mushrooms are all well coated with the flour, making a roux. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes.
5 Add mushroom water, stock, and herbs: Add one cup of reserved mushroom soaking water and stir until the flour has dissolved into the water and there are no lumps. Add the chicken stock. Stir until well incorporated.
Add the herbes de provence, the dried thyme, bay leaves, and salt.
6 Simmer: Heat on high until the soup comes to a low simmer. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
7 Stir in cream: When ready to serve, remove the bay leaves and stir in 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Add black pepper and more salt to taste.
Garnish with chopped chives and parsley.
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