I often find amazing mushrooms, both wild and cultivated, at our local farmers market. I've made this soup with cremini, shitake, button, hen of the woods, oyster, chanterelle, and many other local wild types. This soup is velvety and satisfying. —MrsWheelbarrow
Test Kitchen Notes
With this recipe, MrsWheelbarrow takes a classic home cook recipe and elevates it to elegant dinner party fare. First, she has you make a reinforced stock by simmering the mushroom stems in chicken broth. Then, in a move that evokes the fastidiousness of culinary school, she instructs you to "beautifully and precisely chop" 1 1/2 pounds of mushroom caps into a 1/2-inch dice. Halfway through, you will likely be cursing both her and us, but trust us: It's worth it. And that's really the bulk of the work. The chopped mushrooms slowly cook down with shallots, thyme and rosemary, and then you deglaze them with a generous swig of Cognac, combine the mushrooms with the reinforced stock and finish with a swirl of cream and a heap of freshly chopped chives. The resulting soup is a lovely balance of delicately creamy and intensely mushroomy, with layered undertones of herbs and Cognac. - A&M —The Editors
mixed mushrooms, cleaned, stems separated from caps
cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems separated from caps
Roughly chop the mushroom stems and simmer them, covered, in the chicken broth for about an hour.
In the meantime, heat the oil in a large skillet, and sauté the shallots until transparent. Add the herbs and salt and pepper liberally.
Beautifully and precisely chop the mushroom caps into a 1/2-inch dice. Add them to the shallots as they are chopped. Keep the heat very low and cook gently until the mushroom liquid is released and reabsorbed. Shake the pan so they don't stick. Remove the thyme and rosemary.
Turn up the heat and add the Cognac. Flame it if you're feeling really chef-y. Cook the mushroom cap/shallot mixture down (after Cognac) until well-reduced and starting to turn a little golden on the edges.
Strain the mushroom stems from the chicken broth.
Add the beautiful mushroom cap and shallot mixture to the strained broth and heat gently.
Swirl in the cream and chives and serve. Or serve in small sipping cups topped with chives and lightly whipped cream, if you want to get fancy.