Forget the pain.

On the menu: Creamy Mushroom Soup

I’m feeling a wee bit peevey today.

creamy mushroom soup ~ documenting our dinner.

It’s really annoying when I find a great photo on Pinterest, only to have to embark on a source hunt because the link ends up at some Tumblr site or the main page of the true source site, not the post containing the image. Google Image Search has become my new best friend. There should be Laws of Pinterest. Law #1: Properly source your image!!

I have less than a month to write a rough draft of my dissertation proposal. So far, the only written documents I have concerning my research are scribbled on scratch paper or are hastily typed outlines for meetings with my advisors. I created a concept map last fall as I dove headfirst into a scientific literature search that has since become infamous among my peers, but it’s nowhere near specific enough to use for my proposal writing. We have a two-week spring break coming up. Guess what I’ll be doing?

The cat is sick again. We started her on another round of medicine to provide some temporary relief. She’s also starting to take probiotics with her food every day. I hate seeing her in pain. It breaks my heart.

creamy mushroom soup ~ documenting our dinner.

But! There are plenty of happy things that circumvent these peeves. My brother, an avian rehabilitation technician, observed a bald eagle’s eye getting removed and is working to rehabilitate said eagle.  The eagle flew nice and straight this week! My middle brother has been accepted to his top two colleges and has to make the tough decision of which one to attend. He’s got a lot of thinking to do, but I know he’ll choose the right school for him.

My father finally shipped my stand mixer from Michigan to Maine! I had Christmas all over again this week. We’re breaking it in this weekend with these. And the weekend kicked off with a story on wild bees on NPR this morning–a much needed break from hearing about all the sequester stress.

This soup, I’m not going to lie, starts off a wee bit peevey. You have to dice 2 pounds of mushrooms into 1/2 inch cubes. Really?! Yes, really. Before you start chopping, you take the stems from all those mushroom and get them simmering in chicken stock. Over the hour-long simmer, you have just enough time to get those mushrooms diced. Perhaps that’s my lack of knife skills, or perhaps it just takes a really long time to dice 2 pounds of mushrooms into 1/2 inch cubes.

Here’s where the happiness comes in. After the hour-long simmer, the chicken stock transforms into a luxurious mushroom broth that tastes like hours of work. By that time, you’ve started sautéing your little mushroom cubes, and as they’re tossed with thyme, shallots, and brandy, your kitchen starts to smell like France. I’ve never been to France, but I think it might smell like that. Sidebar: Kevin and I decided on our favorite herbs this week. His is basil. Mine is thyme. I LOVE ME some thyme! Anyway, when the mushrooms are sautéed, they’re added to the mushroom broth, and finally you add heavy cream to finish the soup and give it some body.

And you forget the pain of dicing 2 pounds of mushrooms when, as you take spoonful after spoonful of soup, you find pieces of mushroom in EVERY bite! The broth is fantastic enough on it’s own, sure, but you don’t have to consume innumerable spoonfuls of just broth before hitting the mushroomy goodness. The mushroomy goodness hits you from bite one until bite done. It’s pure genius.

creamy mushroom soup ~ documenting our dinner.

Creamy Mushroom Soup
from MrsWheelbarrow at Food52

1 pound mixed mushrooms, cleaned, stems separated from caps
1 pound cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems separated from caps
1/2 cup minced shallot
6 sprigs thyme
1 sprig rosemary
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup cognac
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup chopped chives

Roughly chop the mushroom stems and simmer them over medium-low heat, covered, in the chicken broth for about an hour. Dice the mushroom caps into 1/2″ cubes. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat and saute the shallots until transparent. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the herbs, salt and pepper, and the diced mushrooms, 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. Cook the mushroom cap/shallot mixture down until well reduced and starting to turn a little golden on the edges. Strain the mushroom stems from the chicken broth. Add the mushroom cap and shallot mixture to the strained broth and heat gently. Stir in the cream and serve, sprinkled with chives.

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14 Responses to Forget the pain.

  1. Emma says:

    Now am I mistaken, or were you not so crazy about mushrooms? If so, what an about face you did here! That wild mushroom soup with wild mushroom stock that I made last fall was, appropriately, wildly delicious. I bet this was equally so.

    And while I would choose basil over thyme, thyme goes with mushrooms much better. So they are both winners in my book.

    When I saw the link on FB, I thought you were going to be talking about Peeves from Harry Potter. My mistake:D

    • Brianne says:

      I was indeed not so crazy about mushrooms. And this, indeed, is quite the about face! One of the reasons why I’m super excited to move to the coast is that there’s a wild mushroom vendor at the farmers market in D-scotta. I would LOVE to make this soup with wild mushrooms!

      In my old age, Emma, I’m starting to forget about Harry Potter. It’s so sad! I need to reread those books. I’ve wanted to bring them back to Maine with me, but they’re so…much…book. And I have hopes that someday my siblings will read them.

  2. Creamy mushroom soups are so strangely delicious. Like, much more than you’d think they’d be for putting a fungus in some cream. But somehow, fungus + cream = MIRACLE. And I love that you used some cremini ones, they just have the best flavor! When I was home for Christmas my uncle gave me some chantarelles he’d picked from his secret mushroom-gathering location in Oregon, and my Lord were they tasty. A very unique-flavored mushroom indeed.

    • Brianne says:

      I like that this soup had just a bit of cream. It wasn’t a cream of mushroom soup; it was just a brothy soup with a touch of cream. It didn’t feel heavy at all, which is the issue I have with cream of mushroom soup. Intense flavor + heavy texture is not something I can handle in quantity. My father always goes morel hunting, and I remember enjoying those as a kid, but I have yet to try chanterelles! They’re so beautiful.

      • Yes, a heavy texture and rich flavor can be kind of overwhelming in large quantities. I am sad to say that I have never had morels, but I have heard amazing things about them. I was intrigued by a kit I saw online for growing your own morels in your backyard, but it would take a year of waiting after setting up their habitat, and I don’t know if I’d have the patience for it. It would probably be best to do like your Dad and my Uncle and just go scavenging for them, they might grow wild up in Oregon, I’ll have to do some looking into it for my next trip home!

  3. carey says:

    Oh no! I hope your kitty will be OK. It’s so tough to see pets in pain. :(

    Also, I’m glad I’m not the only one who totally freaks over image sources on Pinterest! Drives me NUTS.

    And this soup sounds awesome. I love the idea of being able to get lots of mushroom bits in every bite, even if it requires lots of tedious chopping. (Also, thyme has quickly become my favorite herb as well! I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I started planting it in my garden.)

    • Brianne says:

      She’s doing better already :) She’s a pretty tough cat. You probably know this already, but you’re my Pinterest idol. You source everything right, you label everything well, and you find the BEST, most beautiful things to pin! You should be the President of Pinterest and show everyone how it’s done.

      We had a pot of thyme once–our garden consists of multiple pots stuffed around our one south-facing window. It didn’t do very well. We’re trying again to get some growing. I hope it works this time!

      • carey says:

        Oooh good! I’m so glad she’s feeling better! Hurray!

        I am so neurotic about Pinterest that I feel like a crazy person sometimes. I definitely have mini freak outs when I can’t dig up a source, and then I just have to walk away. (:

        A few years ago I had my dad build me this giant cabinet that I could use as an herb grower in the winter and a seed starter in the summer. (It was also supposed to double as a window seat, but it’s instead become another space for various appliances.) I had dreams to build a hydroponic set up for the herbs in the winter, but that never happened. And now it’s turned into my bitters supplies / liquor cabinet. (Not sure what I’m doing to do April when I need to start my seeds.) I hope you can get your herbs to grow this time around! You can’t beat the fresh herbs, and the portions that grocery stores sell them in just seems ridiculous. I don’t need a giant bouquet of cilantro!

  4. my goodness, you have so much going on in your life right now! always good to take a wee break from things every so often, for sure. congrats to your crazy talented family, and i really hope your sweet kitty feels better (pets in pain are just so sad). you got your stand mixer! are you just beside yourself with glee? I remember when i got mine for a wedding gift, i was thrilled and scared; probably b/c i wasn’t cooking as much then. it took me a few months to sort of realize it was for using and not just for worshipping. now that thing gets scooted out to the front of the counter at least twice weekly, and i hope i have it forever. my mom still has Kitchenaid she received on her own wedding day, so it’s going strong at almost FORTY YEARS of continual use. which is almost three times longer than she was married to my dad, so…kitchenaids make for loyal and reliable partnerships. :) yay!
    this mushroom soup is going on my to-make list. this whole winter, i’ve made but a small handful of soups; what is wrong with me? i love mushrooms, and i don’t mind the wee chopping.

    • Brianne says:

      Shannon. The first time I turned on my mixer, I CRIED. Like jumped up and down, and screamed, and then cried. I couldn’t even contain myself. I can’t wait to have the thing forever and make all kinds of great things with it.

      I’m a soup fiend. Kevin hates it. But I make a mean soup, so he deals :)

  5. Hannah says:

    Oh my, I can just taste this soup! Love the thought of chicken stock being transformed into mushroom broth…I adore mushrooms. And your photos are lovely! Good luck with your proposal and I do hope your cat is feeling better.

    • Brianne says:

      Thank you, Hannah! I was really resistant to simmer the mushrooms for an hour, but I am SO glad that I did :) And my cat is doing much better. Giving her the pills she needs is tough, though! She’s pretty feisty. Also, she’s a cat. Cats aren’t known for being cooperative.

  6. Everything about this soup has my mouth watering! I absolutely love the use of a variety of mixed mushrooms in this recipe, it adds such fabulous flavours and textures. Thanks for sharing!!

    -Shannon

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