Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fungus Among Us

Welcome to Soup Week! I have the honor of helping to close an awesomely delicious week, full of recipes and wonderful bloggers that want you to feel just a little warmer.
Egg hearts soup!

For my soup, let me just start by saying that I am a recent convert to the house of fungus. My parents can tell stories of stand-offs that began with mushrooms. Even my favorite Tuna Nuna Casserole would come under sudden scrutiny if I found a rogue piece of mushroom from the cream of mushroom soup. Stroganoff was a complete disaster - with visable mushrooms? Forget about it. And to be honest, it was rarely about the taste - and almost always about the gummy, chewy texture. When I went to a biology class and heard how mushrooms are part plant, part animal. They don't use chlorophyll like plants - they reach their roots out to seek food. That skeeved me out! I made a vow - no mushrooms.

The thing is... tastes change. And one day in college, a girlfriend made some stuffed mushrooms. The smell was intoxicating. I tried one. I loved them. And have not stopped. Mini bellas are my favorite - and I'm gradually branching out to more. This soup was a test in the varieties. If you like all sorts of mushrooms, this soup is a great way to experiment. If you want to play it safe, by all means edit the varieties. There's not much cream in this soup, so it's not so heavy. I served this with an egg, shredded chicken, sausage, or over orzo. You could use rice, diced potato, or quinoa. My favorite is a poached egg and a side of focaccia (not pictured). I also served it with just a dash of siracha to warm up my blood, and just a finish of our special Italian olive oil.

The bread (that we practically swallowed whole, hence no photo) is an easy bread that I've made before. I use my bread maker to combine and knead it, but then I let it rest, spread out, rise, and bake. It's spongey, and a great way to sop up this meaty tasting vegetarian soup. The original recipe calls for rosemary, which I omitted here because I thought it overpowered the soup.

When you're done here, be sure to check out the other Soup Week options!
Comfortably Domestic's Broccoli Cheddar Soup
The Girly Girl's Hearty Vegetable Mexican Soup
Hill Country Cook's 3 Bean & Spinach Soup

Munching in the Mitten's Garbage Soup
La Petite Pancake's Gnocchi & Pesto Soup

Country Cleaver's 40-clove Garlic Soup
Grier Mountain's Sunchoke Soup with Gorgonzola

The Grommom's Coconut Curry Soup
Bakeaholic Mama's Beef Bourguignon

Tenaciously Your's White Chicken Chili
Decadent Philistine's Arizona Mountain Soup

From My Sweetheart's Pink Prosecco Soup
 Inside NanaBread's Head's Shrimp Bisque

And now...  

Creamy Mushroom Soup!
From Smitten Kitchen

1 ounce dried mushrooms (porcini, morels, or shitakes)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 sprigs of rosemary
4 sprigs of sage
1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
1 pound white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 pound shitake mushrooms stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
6 cups chicken stock or water
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1. Soak the dry mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, until they have reconstituted. Set aside.
3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Bundle the rosemary and sage together and tie with kitchen twine. When the oil is hot, add the herb bundle and sizzle for a few minutes on both sides to infuse the oil.
4. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.
5. Turn the heat to medium-high and add the white mushrooms and shitakes.
6. Cook for 10 minutes, during which the mushrooms will give off their liquid (which should evaporate quickly due to the high heat) and deflate significantly. Stir occasionally.
7. Add the chicken stock and the dried mushrooms along with the soaking water.
8. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the herbs, then add the cream and butter. Remove from heat, and use an immersion blender to blend the soup until completely smooth. You can also puree in a blender, working in batches. Keep at a very low simmer until ready to serve.

Adapted from Betty Crocker's Best Bread Machine Cookbook

3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups bread four
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons quick active yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
Coarse salt

1. Place all ingredients except for last 2 in the bread machine, in the order suggested by the manufacturer. 
2. Select Dough/Manual cycle.
3. When the signal beeps, remove the dough from the pan. Let it rest on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
4. Grease a large cookie sheet. Pat the dough into a (roughly) 12-inch circle. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
5. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Using your fingertips, gently push on the dough to make depressions all over (like little craters). Drizzle the dough with the remaining olive oil, and sprinkle with coarse salt to taste. Bake for 15-18 minutes, until golden brown.


  1. I L-O-V-E a good mushroom soup, and your combination of cream & sage makes my heart sing. Can't wait to try this one. The Complete Package will flip his lid. Now I just need the temps to drop again - it has been 80F all week. Ick. So not soup worthy.

  2. Mmm. My coworker and I were just talking about our love of mushroom soup yesterday. I second Jeanne - can't wait to try this.

  3. Beautiful soup! I have always loved 'shrooms....and especially in soup! This looks so creamy and rich...I can only imagine how scrumptious it tastes! And your photos are awesome! : )

  4. MMM I hate mushrooms, but would give this a try!

  5. Mushrooms used to terrify me, especially the little ones that came in cans - shudder.
    But while I still don't like raw mushrooms, I love them cooked, and I love them in a good soup (as in - NOT from a can). This is just gorgeous.
    And when you come visit, I'll be sure to make you a real Stroganoff. :)

  6. I love mushrooms so much and this soup sounds amazing! Great soup week post :)