Earthy mushroom soup is one of our favorite fall meals. After trying several recipes, we settled on this one as a favorite and we come back to it again and again. It's adapted from a recipe by Anthony Bourdain in his Les Halles Cookbook.
Part of what we like about it is its lack of cream or milk. When we puree this soup it has a rich, velvety creaminess, and a taste from the wine and wild mushrooms that lingers on the palate. When we leave the mushrooms whole it's just as good - deep and earthy.
The key to the flavor is the long sweat for the onions and hour simmer afterwards. Try not to skimp on the time; we usually make this a day ahead so we're not rushed.
Mushroom Soup about 2 quarts
1/2 ounce dried wild mushrooms, minced 1/2 cup water 1/2 cup dry white wine 4 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 large white onion, chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 16 ounces white mushrooms, chopped 1 small sprig rosemary (optional) 5 cups chicken or vegetable stock 1-2 teaspoons salt 1-4 teaspoons black pepper
Heat the water and wine to boiling and add the dried wild mushrooms. Let sit for about 20 minutes to half an hour while working with the other ingredients. Cut the onion into a medium dice and gently fry it in the butter over medium heat in a large heavy pot. Add the garlic and let it sweat in the butter for about 8 minutes. Keep the heat low so nothing browns.
Add the white mushrooms and stir until coated with butter and onion. Drain the wild mushrooms, reserving their steeping liquid. Add to the pot and sweat the onions and mushrooms together for another ten minutes.
Add the steeping liquid, rosemary, and chicken stock and bring to a low simmer. Simmer for about an hour. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Remove the rosemary sprig.
You can serve this soup as is, with whole mushrooms, or puree it. It's delicious both ways.