Creamy Mushroom Soup
Neither my husband nor I are really into Valentine’s Day. We’ve done some fun stuff in the past and some years decide to do gifts, but the idea of going out for dinner on one of the busiest nights of the year just doesn’t appeal to us. Why does it have to be that one night when we can go any other night of the year, and actually be able to get a table? Whether or not you love the holiday, a nice meal at home can’t be beat. I thought I would plan out a three-course Valentine’s Day meal that’s not too complicated, but still feels special.
I wanted to come up with a meal that used a lot of foods known for their aphrodisiac qualities (more on that in the next post), and foods that my husband and I actually like. I love mushrooms – but only when they’re prepared certain ways. Raw mushrooms in salads or things like that? Not my thing. A giant, soggy portobello that some places try to pass off as a “burger”? Not so much. But a mushroom that is caramelized just right and not at all spongy is right up my alley.
My husband on the other hand likes the taste of mushrooms, but he can’t stand the texture at all. If I cook with them, they need to be chopped into tiny, tiny pieces or pureed. Many a time he’s leaned over a steaming pot and said, “You’re gonna puree all that right?” even when I think I’ve chopped everything small enough.
I’d seen this soup in the February issue of Vegetarian Times and made a mental note that I really wanted to try it. The idea of a rich and creamy soup seemed perfect for the holiday, and since everything is pureed, I figured it would go over well.
If you like the taste of mushrooms, you have to make this soup. It’s super flavorful and incredibly smooth and velvety. I think it would be a great starter for a meal with your honey, or with friends, or just for yourself if you’re flying solo on Valentine’s Day.
I’ll definitely be making this more often than just for special occasions. There are several steps involved, but it’s by no means difficult to make. And the payoff is really worth it.
Creamy Mushroom Soup from Vegetarian Times Magazine
1 oz. mixed dried mushrooms [I used porcini and shitake]
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt divided
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, such as cremini or white button, chopped [I used cremini]
1/2 cup finely chopped shallot
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
1/2 cup sherry
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup soy creamer [I used unsweetened MimicCreme]
Place dried mushrooms in a medium bowl. Cover with 2 cups hot water, and let stand 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving soaking liquid. Bring soaking liquid and broth to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cover, and keep warm.
Heat 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add rehydrated mushrooms and 1/4 teaspoon salt; saute 2 minutes, or until mushrooms are tender. Transfer mushrooms to a plate or small bowl, and set aside.
Heat remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons oil in same saucepan over medium heat. Add fresh mushrooms, shallot, pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high, and stir in sherry. Simmer 3 minutes, or until liquid is reduced by half. Whisk flour into broth mixture. Stir broth mixture into mushroom mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 30 minutes.
Transfer soup to a blender or food processor, and puree until smooth. Return soup to pot; stir in creamer and reserved rehydrated mushrooms, reserving a few for garnish, if using.
Notes: I pureed the rehydrated mushrooms along with the rest of the soup, and just saved a few for garnish. If you decide to leave them whole and just stir them in, I would recommend you saute them for longer than 2 minutes. I couldn’t find sherry, so I used Madeira instead, and it worked just fine. And if you’re avoiding wheat, I imagine you could leave out the flour and the soup would still be creamy and delicious.