or (1) pack crimini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
or (1) pack button mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
dried exotic mushrooms (shitake, porcini, morel, etc) reconstituted
small potatoes (red will do)
separated - veggie stock (you can use chicken stock if you prefer)
of nutmeg to taste ( 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon likely)
white wine vinegar
fresh thyme (or more if you like)
salt and pepper to taste
of creme fraiche optional
In This Recipe
Pour a cup of the stock into a microwave safe vessel (or heat on the stove) for one minute or until hot but not boiling. Pour over dried mushrooms, cover with a paper towel (or dish cloth or plastic wrap) for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile
Slice leeks, shallots and garlic and set aside. Peel potatoes, and cut in a small dice. Clean mushrooms with either a damp towel (carefully) or a brush (even more carefully). Make sure to get off any dirt that might be clinging to the underside of the mushroom cap. Remove just the dirty end of the stem and dice or mince or chop (basically they don't have to be pretty - just chop away to make them smaller) and set aside.
Pour olive oil in a pot (dutch oven, soup pot, etc) and heat on medium til the oil gets shiny - and add leeks, shallots and garlic.
Sweat for 3-5 minutes until soft and opaque and add a finger full of salt and a turn or two of pepper. Then add half the crimini and button mushrooms. (Reserve the reconstituted mushrooms for later) and fold into the leeks. Once all is coated, add the remaining crimini and button mushrooms. (why half at a time? Too many in the pot at once and they get crushed and bruised)
Add the potatoes and cook together - folding every now and then from the bottom to the top - turning to cook evenly another 5 minutes or so. You'll notice more liquid in the pan as the mushrooms release their liquid. Make sure the heat is still set on medium.
Turn the heat up to medium high for - oh - 30 seconds and allow the mixture to settle - then push the mushrooms to one side and add half the vermouth. It should sizzle alittle and smell great. Scrape the bottom of the pan for anything that might have gotten stuck there. If the vermouth disappears quickly - add a little more. You can use the whole amount - or just this little bit.
Drain the reconstituted mushrooms saving the liquid and add that liquid to the pot. Stir so everything combines.
Add the rest of the stock. At this point you may decide to add more stock (for a lighter, thinner soup) or slightly less stock (for a richer, thicker soup). Then add some more salt (mushrooms seem to absorb salt, so you'll likely add more than usual), some more pepper, and half the thyme.
Let bubble just alittle, reduce heat to low, cover... and walk away for a while... 20 minutes or so will do.
Turn off the burner and remove from the heat. Now at this stage you can either use a food processor or as I prefer, the hand immersion blender. Put a dishtowel over half of the pot (to protect you from hot, flying mushroom pieces) and starting slowly - begin to blend mushrooms into the broth. Once you have gotten most of the solids, increase the speed and blend to your desired thickness. I happen to like it more on the chunky side than the silky side. *If you want it to be more "silky" - use the food processor. But work in batches and make sure you're closing it tightly as the soup is hot and you can burn yourself with the liquid or the steam.
Now, here comes the thickness choice. If you want it thinner, just leave it alone. If you want it to have a little more uhumph, put 2 tablespoons of flour into a cup, and add alittle soup slowly (maybe 4 tablespoons) and stir quicky - getting rid of any lumps and add it SLOWLY to the soup. This will thicken the soup.
Once you have the desired thickness (if you want it even thicker, add another 2 tablespoons SLOWLY - too much flour will make it taste...floury) it's time to season. Add alittle more nutmeg, salt and pepper - again to taste. Add the remaining thyme. Now - taste it. This next ingredient is absolutely optional - but I like the slight bite of acidity. Add a splash of wine wine vinegar and stir. Taste. If you want more of a bite - add just another SMALL splash. That should be enough.
Remember the other mushrooms? Chop these up into small pieces and toss into soup.
At this point, let it cook on low for another 5-10 minutes so all the herbs and spices relax into it. Then - grab a ladle and serve. If you'd like, add a dollop of creme fraiche - pull a hot loaf of crusty bread out of the oven and enjoy!