At our home, mushroom soup is king. It’s pure comfort. I can’t believe I haven’t posted this before. I always have dried mushrooms in the cupboard, as well as porcini powder, so you can make mushroom soup whenever the mood comes over me. This is an intensely mushroom-y soup. It’s filling and perfect for a cold night and a roaring fire. We like this soup with a combination of dried mushrooms, fresh diced mushrooms and fresh sliced mushrooms, as well as some porcini powder. The soy sauce may seem unusual, but I add it because it enhances the meatiness, or umami, of the mushrooms. I left it out once and it was noticeable. If gluten is an issue, use a gluten-free tamari.
Originally, I used to purée part of the mixture to thicken the soup, but we seem to prefer this chunky, so I thicken it slightly with a combination of rice flour and cornstarch. But you can absolutely do the purée “thing”. It certainly would be easier for my gluten-free friends.
Before you being the soup, place the dried mushrooms in container and cover with the hot broth; set aside for at least 30 minutes or until the mushrooms have reconstituted. When you begin to make this soup, I usually just let the butter partially melt, then add the leeks (or in this case, onions), etc. and continue. When you’re ready to add the dried mushrooms, squeeze the liquid out of them and just run a sharp knife over them, as they can be in pretty large pieces. By the way, if you have an Asian market near you, they can have a pretty decent selection of dried mushrooms and usually at a pretty decent price. Save that mushroom broth, but pour it through a strainer, because sometimes some grit comes out of mushrooms. Stir the thickening agents into the mushroom broth, along with the soy sauce; pour into the simmering soup, stirring well. Stir in the heavy cream and sherry. Pour into bowls and serve piping hot. I really like to top each bowl with buttered croûtons. That butter…mmmmm! Also, encourage your guests to grind some black pepper over their bowl. It adds a nice punch.
Today, I’m killing two birds (so to speak) with one pot! I’m using the leftover turkey carcass to make the broth. I used my Instant Pot™, so I can squeeze all the flavor out of those bones, by using the pressure cooker feature. This time I will also toss in some of the leftover turkey, just before serving, so technically this is actually Sherry-Laced Wild Mushroom Bisque with Turkey. But, let’s not get hung up on semantics. Let’s just focus on the mushroom-side of things. And the Cranberry Sauce Sundae I’m having for dessert!
Sherry-Laced, Wild Mushroom Bisque
- 1 1/2 cups dried wild mushrooms
- Broth (heated) to cover by about 1/2-inch
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 1/2 cups diced leeks or onion
- 6 cloves garlic, put through a press (or grated)
- 1 cup coarsely chopped fresh mushrooms
- 1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried tarragon (optional—see NOTE)
- 2 teaspoons ground porcini powder (optional, but delicious)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (more for serving)
- 5 cups homemade or low-salt chicken stock (see NOTE)
- 2 tablespoons of rice flour
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce (don’t omit this)
- Buttered croûtons for service
- Snipped chives for service
Place the dried mushrooms in a 4-cup glass measuring cup. Cover with the hot broth; set aside for at least 30 minutes or until the mushrooms have reconstituted.
Once the mushrooms have reconstituted and you’re ready to prepare the soup, melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the leeks; sauté until they’re just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Try not to stir too often.
Squeeze the liquid from the reconstituted mushrooms; I just use my hands for this. You may want to chop up any really, really large pieces. Add to the pot, along with the garlic, the fresh mushrooms, the thyme, porcini powder, salt and pepper; cook until the mushrooms become limp, about 4 minutes. Stir now and then.
Add the broth, scraping up any browned bits in the pot with a wooden spoon. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the mushrooms are almost tender, about 6 minutes. Strain the mushroom broth to remove any grit; stir the thickening agent the broth. Stir until the mixture is completely lump-free; stir in the soy sauce. Stir the mixture into the soup pot; simmer for another 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and the soup is thickened. (If you want a smoother bisque, see NOTE.) Stir in the cream and the sherry. Add salt and pepper to taste, if needed; reheat gently. Garnish each serving with a few croûtons and a sprinkle of the chives.
- NOTE: If you want a smoother soup, cool the soup slightly. Transfer about half of the soup to a blender (not a food processor) and process until smooth (or use an immersion blender directly in the pot, blending until the mixture is thickened and partially puréed). Continue with the recipe.
- Use vegetable broth, if you wish to keep this vegetarian. This is also a perfect way to use the Thanksgiving turkey carcass. You will have a better broth, if you make it in the pressure cooker. Bonus—it takes less time, too.
- I add the dried tarragon (or 2 teaspoons fresh) when I add chicken or turkey to this. I love tarragon, but if it isn’t your herb, then omit it.
Sherry-Laced, Wild Mushroom Bisque Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2017. All rights reserved.