All spiced up: mushroom soup
By Danielle Rosenberg
This recipe is an old constant. I keep just going back to it because it’s filling, warming and perfect for chilly autumn and winter nights.
The ingredients list is simple, as is the flavor, making it the perfect soup to accompany a variety of side dishes and also the perfect soup to experiment with—adding different ingredients, substituting, to get the flavor you’d like.
This recipe is adapted from Heidi Swanson’s blog 101cookbooks.com, but I’ve added sherry and rum to the recipe for a more complex flavor.In the past, I have also substituted sweet potatoes for the white potatoes, and I have added carrots and celery to the base as well.
I decided to only include the simplest version which I made last week—leaving any alterations to you.
This soup reheats really well, and one batch will probably last 4 or even 5 chilly days. When reheating, it is important to add more water to reconstitute the broth—always try it first, though.
Additionally, the salt content in such a simple broth and it is important to add only a little at a time until you get the flavor you desire—the optimum amount to bring out the flavors without giving you high blood pressure.
The first night I made it, I used a thick, hearty bread to make garlic bread, which tasted great with the broth.
½ Cup Dried Mushrooms (I used Chanterelle, but any other variety will work)
1⁄3 Cup Sherry (Red wine and white wine work as well)
1-2⁄3 Cup Water1⁄3 Cup Olive Oil
3 Cooking Potatoes (or 1-1⁄2 Pounds New Potatoes—Sweet Potatoes work and add extra Vitamin A!)
2-3 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary, removed from stem and chopped
3-4 Large Garlic Cloves
½ Cup Silver Rum (Optional, used for flambéing)
Kitchen Match (Or a lighter)
4 Cups Water
1-1⁄2 to 2 Teaspoons Salt
Soak the dried mushrooms in some sherry and warm water for about half an hour or more. You may want to chop the dried mushrooms a little before soaking, to create smaller pieces—though I kind of like the look of larger chunks of mushroom. Set aside.
In a large, heavy pan, add a little of the olive oil and set the rest aside.
Add the shallots, chopped finely and sauté until they begin to be translucent.
Then add the potatoes, cut into small cubes, the rosemary and the garlic.
This step is optional: Add the rum to the pan, with the matches nearby and ready, and then light the rum. This will create a very hot blue flame—so be careful.
Note: I am not responsible for your irresponsibility if you are not careful while flambéing.
Also, this is probably not really a good idea if you live in a dorm on campus.
Allow this to burn for maybe 30 seconds and then blow the flame out.
In my opinion, this adds a lot of flavor and also caramelizes the shallots to perfection.
After blowing out the flame, add the remaining olive oil, the mushrooms and the juice in which they have been soaking, and four cups of water.
Allow this to come to a simmer and then cook for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are tender when poked with a fork.
Be sure to taste the broth before seasoning with salt, and then after each small addition of salt.
When you think the broth is at the appropriate level of saltiness, it’s ready to serve.
I topped the soup with some pecorino romano cheese as well—which added some more interesting flavors, but this is entirely optional. Without it, this soup is vegan and gluten-free.