Wild and Creamy


It’s fall, harvest is over, and thoughts turn toward warm fires and cozy meals. Markets abound with shitake and spendy chanterelle mushrooms. This is a perfect soup for a first course or dinner any night.

For this soup, plan to use mostly wild mushrooms, but you can augment with crimini for sure. I like these little brown farmed mushrooms much more than the more common and less flavorful “button” mushroom.

  • 2 oz. dried morels or chanterelles
  • ¾ cup chardonnay or other dry white wine
  • 1 stick butter
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 1 ts lemon juice
  • 3 T flour
  • 2 pounds fresh mushrooms, stems removed for the stock
  • 4 cups chicken stock augmented (see note below)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pint heavy cream (or half and half)
  1. Rinse dried mushrooms until free of any grit.
  2. Combine dried mushrooms and white wine. Cover and let stand for at least an hour, stirring once in awhile to submerge mushrooms.
  3. Prepare fresh mushrooms. Trim and chop stems and add to chicken stock. Wipe caps with paper towel and slice thin. Set aside.
  4. Prepare chicken stock. Bring stock, either homemade or commercial, to hard simmer, add chopped stems of mushrooms, plus 2 parsley sprigs, 1 bay leaf, and 2 thyme sprigs. Simmer partially covered for 30 minutes, and skim occasionally. Strain out mushroom stems, pressing to keep as much juice as possible. Discard herbs and mushroom stems.
  5. Lift dried mushrooms from wine with slotted spoon, chop, and add to simmering soup pot, with the wine, leaving any sediment behind. Simmer 30 minutes, or until dried mushrooms are tender.
  6. Cook onions separately in ½ stick of the butter for 8 minutes or so in a skillet large enough eventually to hold the mushrooms. Cook onions until tender, but not browned. Add flour and stir over moderate heat for 3 or more additional minutes until flour is incorporated completely. With stock at a simmer, add the roux, mixing until incorporated. Keep stock at a low simmer. Wipe skillet. Add remaining ½ stick of butter. When butter has melted, add fresh mushroom caps and lemon juice and cook over low heat, uncovered for five minutes. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. When mushrooms have released juices, add fresh mushroom mixture with juices to stock.
  7. Simmer soup for 10 minutes, or until all mushrooms are soft. Adjust seasoning – salt and fresh ground pepper. Remove from heat. You can hold soup at this point, filming surface with a spoonful of cream. When ready to serve, bring to simmer.
  8. Slowly add one cup hot soup into 2 cups cream. Add gradually to soup, off heat, and bring back to almost simmer. Do not boil. Decorate with fresh thyme leaves and serve. Serves 6 to 8

Delicious with Pinot noir or Chardonnay