The night before my brother's wedding, his wife-to-be's parents took us out to dinner. We were in Detroit and my expectations weren't high, but I had an extraordinary mushroom bisque that I set out to re-create when I got home. It took several years to achieve something as good as I remembered. —Kevin
Test Kitchen Notes
Nothing is more comforting in the fall than a big bowl of homemade mushroom bisque. Of course, many recipes for mushroom bisque abound on the Internet, but this one is extra-special because not only do you use dried mushrooms, you use fresh mushrooms as well. You first start by making a quick mushroom stock. All it takes is said dried mushrooms and a little bit of sherry. You get so much flavor just letting the mushrooms soak for a half an hour, and the extra step and time make the payoff well worth it. Mixed with fresh mushrooms, chicken stock, some butter, and half-and-half, the combination of these savory, creamy, hearty ingredients equal comfort food in a bowl.
Keep in mind per the reviewers below that you might need more liquid to hydrate the dried mushrooms. A little more sherry and chicken stock should do the trick—be sure to trust your instincts and don't be afraid to taste as you go! If you're not using an immersion blender, be careful as you transfer the hot liquids to a standard blender, and feel free to work in batches as you go. A final dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche really helps tie it all together, and a sprig of thyme adds a pop of color for the final presentation. This is the perfect way to use up all types of mushrooms, and any time you find yourself with either dried of fresh ones, this recipe will soon become your go-to. —The Editors
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 25 minutes
- Serves 4
dry sherry, plus more for serving
assorted dried wild mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds
assorted fresh mushrooms, such as button, shiitake, and/or porcini, coarsely chopped
finely chopped thyme, plus sprigs for serving
1 1/2 cups
store-bought or homemade chicken stock
freshly ground black pepper
Sour cream or crème fraîche, for serving
- In a small pot over medium heat, bring ½ cup of the sherry to a simmer. Remove from the heat, stir in the dried mushrooms, and rehydrate for 30 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the mushrooms to a small bowl. Into another small bowl, strain the sherry through a coffee filter or cheesecloth; set aside. Note: Half of the mushroom flavor comes from this broth.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, arrange half of the fresh mushrooms in an even layer (do not oil the pan); generously season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms have reduced by half. Add the remaining fresh mushrooms, season with salt, then stir in the shallots and chopped thyme. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes more, until the mushrooms have reduced by half.
- Add the butter and toss until melted. Add the reserved sherry and reduce to a syrup. Add the rehydrated mushrooms and stock. Bring to a vigorous simmer, then reduce the heat to medium-low and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the half-and-half. Purée the soup with an immersion blender or standard blender. Return the soup to the pot and heat over medium, stirring, to warm through.
- Serve with a light splash of sherry (don’t stir it in). Garnish with a thyme sprig and a dollop of sour cream or crème fraîche.