As the first course for a company dinner, or as a cold-weather lunch, cream of mushroom soup is very versatile. Crimini (baby portabello) mushrooms are more flavorful than white mushrooms, and can be used, but they make a darker soup.
1 pound white mushrooms
4 cups chicken stock
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp sherry or Cognac (optional)
1/4 tspn Tabasco
- Wipe the mushrooms with a damp cloth and break off the stems. In a large pot, simmer the stems in the stock for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the mushroom flavor has thoroughly permeated the stock.
- Strain the stock through a sieve into a bowl; discard the stems. Return the stock to the pot.
- Mix the flour and butter into a paste, beurre manié, and roll into tiny balls. Bring the stock to a boil; drop in the balls of beurre manié and beat in with a whisk until the beurre manié is absorbed and the stock is slightly thickened.
- Slice the mushroom caps thinly and add them to the thickened broth. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the cream in another pan, stirring, until just at the simmering point. Add the sherry, if using, and stir in the cream. Stir in the Tabasco and season with salt.
- Reheat the soup until hot, but not boiling, and serve in heated soup plates or cups.
Recipe courtesy of The Essential James Beard Cookbook by James Beard.