I’ve always been a fan of mushroom soup. It’s a perfect example of a dish that’s far better made from scratch than out of a can, and in fall, when markets overflow with new mushroom varieties, it’s a great time to experiment with meaty, flavorful mushrooms that are far more mushroom-y than the white button ones we see year-round at the grocery store. (Not that they don’t make a pretty fab pot of soup, too.) Porcini mushrooms and ground California walnuts make the perfect pairing in this soup, creating a deep earthiness while contributing protein and fiber. It’s a delicious bowl of yum.
This soup can be vegetarian or not, depending on the stock you use – and a glug of sherry is a delicious addition for the grownups. For a subtle, smokey flavour, use 3 – 4 strips of bacon in place of butter. This is a perfect soup to make ahead of time; refrigerate in airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months. To use a slow cooker, toss everything but the cream and garnish in (brown the veggies first in a hot skillet if you want to boost flavor) and cook on low for 4-6 hours, then puree with an immersion blender, adding the cream and adjusting seasoning.
Make it a complete meal with crusty bread and a tossed green salad.
Wild Mushroom and California Walnut Soup
2 Tbsp. butter
1-1/2 lbs wild and white mushrooms, sliced
1/2-1 cup fresh or 2 oz dried porcini mushrooms, reconstituted (see instructions below)
1 cup ground California walnuts
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup flour
6 cups hot chicken or vegetable broth
1/3 cup sherry (optional)
2 Tbsp. fresh thyme
1 cup whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Sautéed mushrooms and/or crumbled blue cheese for garnish
In a large, heavy-bottomed stock pot on high heat, melt butter. Add mushrooms, walnuts, onion, garlic, celery and bay leaves and sauté until lightly browned (about 5 to 10 minutes). Reduce heat to medium, add flour and cook for another 2 minutes. Stirring constantly, slowly add hot broth and sherry and bring to a boil.
Let simmer for 20 minutes and remove bay leaves.
Remove from heat and using an immersion blender, pulse until mushrooms are nearly puréed or until desired consistency.
Return to heat, bring to a boil and add thyme and cream. Stir to combine. Garnish with sautéed wild mushrooms and/or blue cheese, if desired, and serve.
Makes 6 servings.
Per serving: about 376 cal, 12 g pro, 27 g fat (12 g sat. fat), 22 g carb, 6 g fibre, 61 mg chol, 1188 mg sodium. %RDI: 6% calcium, 25% iron, 20% vit A, 7% vit C
To reconstitute the dried porcini mushrooms: Follow the directions on the package. Or, combine porcini and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in medium bowl. Let stand until porcini soften, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove porcini from water and chop coarsely.
Recipe & photo courtesy of walnutinfo.com