Everyday gourmet: Cream of wild mushroom soup with arugula and truffle oil

I do NOT recommend doing a “duo” of soups
like I did when making this recipe for the
first time.

So I’m at the grocery store last week wandering the leafy greens section of the produce department searching for arugula. Bupkis. I shimmy over to the mushroom quarter (I really do shimmy sometimes, by the way) on the hunt for wild varieties like shiitake, oyster or porcini. Zilch. I skip over to the baking aisle desperately seeking truffle oil. Nada. In a tizzy, I called Mr. T to report my “first world problems.” After he stopped laughing, he responded by saving the day and swinging by Whole Foods on his way home from work. I must confess, our efforts were rewarded because we enjoyed the best soup EVER that night (for mushroom lovers, anyway). And you can, too!

I worked from wild mushroom soup recipes by the Barefoot Contessa (here) and Bobby Flay (here) combining bits and pieces, streamlining where possible, and cutting out a TON of fat and calories (shocking, I know). Since I couldn’t find fresh wild mushrooms, I used common varieties in combination with dried. The soup turned out to be flavorful with a nice texture–not completely pureed, but without big chunks of mushroom. It was a “busy” recipe and used a lot of dishes, but it was well worth the trouble. I’ll be making this again very soon!

N.S.F.D. Ranking: ***

Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 2-ish hours
Servings: 6-8

Ingredients:
10-12 dried mushrooms (oyster, porcini, portabello, shiitake), softened
8 ounces fresh cremini mushrooms
8 ounces fresh button mushrooms
8 ounces fresh portabello mushrooms
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 Tablespoons butter
1-2 large carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme, plus a teaspoon of fresh thyme chopped
2 cups chopped leeks (the white and light green parts)
1/4 cup white flour
1 cup dry white wine (or broth)
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half and half
Black pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1 bunch arugula
White or black truffle oil

Note: You’ll need two large pots for the soup–One to make mushroom stock, and one to saute mushrooms and leeks. It’s a bit like dueling pots, but it’s manageable. To streamline, skip the stock step and use store-bought chicken or veggie stock.

Directions:

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in hot water until soft, reserving the hot water.
  2. Remove stems from the fresh mushrooms and coarsely chop the stems, along with wild mushrooms (I used a food processor).
  3. Slice mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick, set aside.
  4. To make stock, heat the olive oil and a tablespoon of butter in a large pot. Add the chopped stems, onion, carrot, sprigs of thyme, a teaspoon of salt and pepper, and cook over medium-low until the veggies are soft, approximately 10 minutes. Add 6 cups water (including the reserved mushroom water from step 1). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat a few tablespoons butter in a large pot and saute the leeks over low heat for 15-20 minutes until they turn brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, until they are brown and tender. Add flour and cook for a minute, stirring well. Add the wine (or broth) and stir for another minute, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. (Don’t walk away like I did or your brown bits will be nearly burnt!)
  6. Going back to your mushroom stock, strain the veggies and add the stock to the mushroom/leek pot. Add the minced thyme, and more salt and pepper. (Go easy with the salt at this point, you can always add more later.) Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. Add the half-and-half and cream. Heat through but do not boil.
  8. For a smoother soup, buzz with an immersion blender in the pot, or by batches in a regular blender.
  9. Serve hot topped with a handful of torn arugula and several drops of truffle oil.
  10. Enjoy and bask in your everyday gourmet glory. (Yes, I actually do this, too.)

Notes:
– I used fat-free half-and-half. To cut the fat/calories further, you could probably use a lighter-weight cream or regular milk and incorporate a bit of cornstarch and water.
– I used a mixture of dried mushrooms I bought at Costco.
– This soup was even better the next day!

xoxo,
shawna

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