Dear Chef Bourdain;
Mushrooms. Clearly one of the most glorious things to come from poop. Unless, I suppose, you have certain unspeakable predilections, but even in that case I’m guessing you’d still prefer this amazing mushroom soup. This is what The Good Book is best at – simple recipes with a few ingredients that end up just amazing.
Mushrooms are like a secret weapon; they seem kind of humble and uninteresting, but they combine with other stuff to become pretty magical. The earthy, rich flavor, that beautiful savory toothsomeness. I know this whole umami thing is really trendy, but there’s some truth to it, some of the most gorgeous things to eat involve a lot of this flavor. And mushrooms bring it, and then some.
Per your directions, I sauteed onions in butter until the onions were translucent, and threw in the mushrooms. If these pictures look better than the ones I used previously, it’s because now I’ve got a really professional camera, instead of just relying on my iPhone, by the way.
Next they simmered with chicken stock and flat parsley for about an hour. I had to cheat on the chicken stock – I’m all out of the stock I made back on Stock Day, so I had to use the boxed kind. I’m sure it would have been better with real stock- your forward is quite correct about that – good stock makes for good soup. Or you know, whatever you’re putting your stock into. If I’d had some chicken demi-glace, this would have been a perfect place to use it, too. But I don’t. I’m remedying this even as I write this letter – there’s a pot of stock going on the hob, and when it’s done I’m going to save off half of it to make demi-glace with. Anyway, even with the store bought stock, it was lovely. Maybe it’s best I didn’t have the good stuff, I’m not sure I deserve soup that good.
It reduced more than I expected while simmering, so in the future I’ll probably increase the batch size. But after an hour, I took it off and did it in batches in the blender, making sure not to shoot boiling hot mushroom goop all over my kitchen and self. As amusing and “my life as a comedy” appropriate that would surely have been to everyone but me, I’m happy with not ending the year with my skin melted off in an umami volcano.
I put the results back on to simmer with some sherry. Your stern imprecations not to use cheap sherry aside, that’s all I had. And even that has lasted about a gajillion years. I know, I know, in an ideal world I’d send the butler out to go fetch me a bottle of the 1897 Chateau de ste domaine le pretense (I hear that was a very good year for pretension), but this is the real world. Cheap sherry it was. I don’t think it mattered. Even with store bought stock and cheap sherry, this was a gorgeous bowl of soup. It was creamy and toothsome and delicious – but without any cream. This was mildly amazing, so few of these recipes don’t have heavy cream. In fact, MLF didn’t believe it didn’t have cream in it, it has that silky, hearty flavor to it. But nope, cream-free. (There’s more than enough butter to compensate though, this is hardly health-food.) I had it with a little white truffle oil drizzled on top, and a couple of slices of fresh-baked bread. Just the thing to fortify me for a night’s New Year celebration!
I hope your 2011 is great Chef, I don’t doubt mine is going to be delicious!