Smitten Kitchen. This soup was one of the best I've ever had, maybe even better than the one I had overseas. It was deeply flavored, creamy, but not too rich.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Note: This soup can easily become vegetarian by replacing the chicken stock for vegetable broth.
.5 oz dried mushrooms (I chose shiitake for no particular reason)
1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms (I chose about 2/3 crimini and 1/3 shiitake for $ reasons), scrubbed and roughly chopped
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 leek or small onion, chopped
3 plump garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 tsp salt
freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp fresh thyme, chopped or 1/4 tsp dried
1 - 2 sage leaves (optional)
1 small bay leaf
1 quart good chicken stock or broth, or vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half or cream
1/4 cup milk
1 Tbs butter
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped (optional)
Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup hot water for at least 30 minutes (they can continue to soak while the rest of the soup is prepared). Place chopped fresh mushrooms in a bowl and toss with lemon juice. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add herbs and saute for about a minute. Add leeks, garlic, salt and some black pepper. At this point, I fished out the sage leaves, but you could keep them in for a more intense sage flavor. Saute for about 5 minutes, or until the leeks are translucent and just beginning to brown.
Raise the heat to medium high and add the fresh mushrooms. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms has mostly evaporated.
Add the stock or broth and the dried mushrooms with their soaking water. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
Add the half-and-half, milk, and butter. I also threw in some more black pepper at this step. Once the butter has melted, remove from heat. Now take out the bay leaf! (I forgot to take mine out and blended it up with the rest of the soup. I survived, but I don't want anyone choking!) Blend the soup in small batches until it is as smooth as you prefer. Stir in the parsley. Keep on stove at a very low temperature until it is served. Bon appetite!