Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cooking for a Rainy Day

Cream of Mushroom Soup
Canned soup, I want none of the sort. They used to be okay for me before, they weren't bad. But once I've tried cream of mushroom soup made from scratch, my perspective on the subject changed. It's a simple dish, I know, but on a cold rainy day there's no other kind of food I pine for.

The recipe is from Simply Recipes. It's easy to make, except I have to mince my mushrooms by hand having no food processor in the house. Mincing up a pound of mushrooms is no joke, it's the longest part of the preparation for me. (Use fresh mushrooms, by the way, not the canned ones soaked in liquid. They are worlds apart in flavor.) Oh, and I make my chicken stock from scratch, too. That adds a couple more minutes to the prep time. But after all the ingredients have been prepared, cooking it up is breeze.

For garnish, instead of parsley, I drizzle about half a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil on the soup and some parmesan cheese. Lovely.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 pound regular white mushrooms, cleaned, quartered or sliced
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp minced shallots
1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
Minced parsley for garnish

1. In a food processor, coarsely chop mushrooms and lemon juice.
2. Melt butter in (4-5 quart) sauce pan and lightly sauté shallots on medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf, sauté over moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms disappears.
3. Add salt, pepper, cream and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Add cornstarch and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Correct seasoning and add more lemon juice to taste.
Serves 4. Serve sprinkled with a little parsley.

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