The following originally appeared on 10/22/07 at Exit 51
To celebrate the kitchen finally being functional enough to use, I swept the dust bunnies under the sofa, cleared off the dining room table, and invited a friend over for supper. Make no mistake, the work isn’t done and the house is still all torn apart but after weeks of frozen meals and take out, I was ready to cook.
I wanted something familiar, something comfortable, something that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t really mess up. The first full meal cooked in the new kitchen was:
Chunky Mushroom Soup
Mixed Green Salad with Roasted Chicken and Avacado
Raspberry and Mango Crisp
Even though I’ll have to take it all out in a few days for work to continue, I put some of the kitchen stuff back on the counter to get a feel for what the workspace will be like. I have to say I’m pretty happy. I feel like I finally have adequate room to prep, chop, and mix. But I keep forgetting that the new counter is actual stone and therefore, pretty unforgiving when it comes to banging things against it.
I needed this day. I needed a reminder that in spite of the detours and roadblocks, it’s ok to enjoy the ride. At the end of day as I was cleaning up, I was glad that I hadn’t waited until work is officially complete to have company over. Much like many things in life, it’s a work in progress and it’s up to me to decide whether it’s a challenge or a barrier.
What’s not a challenge is this Hearty Mushroom Soup…enjoy!
Hearty Mushroom Soup
- 1 large onion, diced (preferably a sweet onion like Mayan or Vidalia)
- .5 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 1.5 lbs mixed crimini, button, and shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups beef broth
- 1 cup red wine (or beef broth)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- thyme, salt, and pepper to taste
Boil 1 cup of water and soak dried porcini mushrooms for 30 minutes. While porcini’s soak, dice onion.
Melt 1 tbsp butter in dutch oven or soup pot (4qt or larger) and sweat onions over low heat until soft. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and thyme plus garlic. Stir until garlic become fragrant.
Add remaining butter and fresh mushrooms to pot. Cook over medium heat until mushrooms release their moisture. Add porcini’s, their soaking liquid, beef broth and wine (if using) to pot. Bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer one hour.
Remove bay leaf. Using a stick blender or food processor, process the soup until the mushrooms are chopped and chunky (this will thicken the soup). Finish with salt, pepper, and thyme to taste. Garnish with crème fraiche for creamy goodness!