This is a thick, rich soup like canned mushroom soup on gourmand steroids. More of everything. More flavor, more butter, more cream, more mushrooms!
For dried mushrooms, I use the dried shiitake mushrooms found in Asian food stores, but sometimes I also dry white mushrooms myself. Tips for drying white mushrooms:
- put a scant handful of white mushrooms in an open cardboard box or their original foam carton
- put the open container in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator
- give the mushrooms enough room that they won’t touch each other; this will prevent slime (decomposition)
- dry the mushrooms in your fridge, exposed to circulating air, until the skins are dry and a bit wrinkly—they may discolor a bit, and they will be smaller than when fresh but not greatly shrunk
- put the wrinkly mushrooms into a large jar, layered with dry rice; I use basmati rice, which has a nice nutty fragrance
You can also cook with the rice when the mushrooms are dried out. The rice absorbs moisture from the mushrooms. With time, the rice acquires a more and more intense mushroom flavor. This process might work for drying any kind of mushroom, but I have only tried it with white mushrooms.
I have never added the rice to this soup but I bet it would be good! If you do, cook the rice until very soft, then run the rice through the blender before adding the cooked sliced mushrooms back in, to retain the thick, silky mouthfeel.
INTENSE FRESH MUSHROOM SOUP
by Jennifer Stevenson
1 oz dried mushrooms or more (any kind, although I use shiitake or white)
1 c boiling water
8 oz or more fresh mushrooms, cleaned & sliced
white or portobello or oyster or shiitake, or a mix
4 T butter
1 clove garlic, sliced and crushed
1 T butter
1 or 2 T flour
¼ c to ½ c heavy cream
¼ c white wine if desired
salt & pepper to taste
A day in advance, put dried mushrooms in a clean jar, add boiling water, and cover tightly. Next day, before preparing soup, squeeze out and discard the soaked mushrooms. (Their texture is too chewy for the soup.) Reserve mushroomy liquid.
Melt 4 T butter and sautee fresh mushrooms with garlic until soft.
Add mushroom liquid and half the wine and mix thoroughly. Remove all from pan and set aside.
In the same pan, melt 1 T butter and make a roux with the flour. Cook until the flour taste is gone and the roux is tan-to-brown and bubbly.
Add the cream and the sauteed mushrooms in their liquid, mix thoroughly. Heat through, stirring, until thickened. Add more white wine to thin and flavor the soup. Salt & pepper to taste.
This is a thick soup, very rich. Serve hot in small cups, about ½ cup per person.