I’m a desert girl (which is different than a dessert girl). Where I come from, mushrooms are the thing that might pop up in your lawn after one of those rare spring showers soak into the parched ground. Mushrooms are something you put on top of your pizza if you happen to be eating with a group of people who aren’t mushroom-adverse. They don’t figure into desert-dwelling cuisine that much.
On top of that, where I come from, let’s just say that the culinary scene is a bit behind the times. Cream of mushroom soup is something that comes out of a can, mixed with water and microwaved until warm.
Then I moved to Portland, where mushrooms are a religion. Mushrooms are spoken of in the same reverential terms usually reserved for deities and rock stars. They are lovingly gathered and piled into baskets at the market with the disclaimer that the FDA hasn’t inspected this particular batch of fungi. Not as a warning, but more as a proclamation. These mushrooms are real.
So, I figured: when in Rome. And then I spent some time perfecting a cream of mushroom soup that would wipe out all the memories of the salty, tinny, practically unidentifiable mushroom chunks that I’d grown up with.
I gotta say, it turned out good. More than good. Delectable. By browning the mushrooms in advance, you release all this flavor that layers onto the onion and roasted garlic. The sherry adds this lovely sweetness that melds with the nuttiness of the butter. It’s nothing like my mom’s cream of mushroom, in the best way (sorry mom).
- 2 cups mushrooms (I used a mix of shiitake, chanterelle, and oyster)
- 1 garlic bulb
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 4 TB sherry
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cream
- Salt and Pepper
Slice the pointy top off of a garlic bulb, drizzle with olive oil, and bake in the oven at 400°F until starting to brown.
While that’s happening, cook 1/4 of the mushrooms in a pan over medium-high heat with a tablespoon of butter until brown and fragrant. Remove from pan and repeat (adding more butter each time) with the rest of the mushrooms until they are all cooked.
Add a bit more butter to the pan and cook the onion and shallots on medium-high until fragrant and soft. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook another 10 minutes until translucent and browning. Remove from pan.
Remove garlic from the oven and chop it roughly.
Add sherry and another tablespoon of butter to the pan that you’ve been cooking with. Cook on medium heat for 3 minutes. Add flour and cook until reduced and golden, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken stock, onions, shallots, garlic, and mushrooms. Bring to a boil and then reduce and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Top with chopped parsley.