Adapted from Allison Zinder’s Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup
Spring approaches, and with it, the opportunity to forage for morels and other wild mushrooms. In anticipation of this savory season, I want to share my recipe for a wild mushroom soup. It’s indulgently creamy and velvety—hearty enough to satisfy us as we wait for the lingering cold to pass, and yet the tangy crème fraiche lends something bright to it, and the mushrooms themselves are a nod toward the turning of the seasons and the revival of growing things.
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 ½ lb assorted wild mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms and beech mushrooms), finely sliced
4 TBSP butter
1 tsp tarragon
1 tsp sage
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade, at room temperature
1 cup heavy cream
Crème fraiche, to garnish
Melt 2 TBSP butter over medium-low heat in a large Dutch oven. Add the shallots, some salt to flavor them, and cook until soft and slightly golden, about 7-10 minutes. Add another TBSP of butter, allow to melt, and then add almost all the mushrooms to the pot (reserve a few slices to garnish at the end). Sprinkle the herbs, salt, and pepper over the mushrooms. Cook on medium low for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are golden and fragrant.
Add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and allow to cook for another 20 minutes. Add the cream, bring to a boil and reduce to a bare simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally—make sure the heat isn’t too high or the mixture will separate.
Meanwhile, melt the last TBSP of butter in a small pan over medium heat and sauté the reserved mushroom slices until crispy, about 3 minutes. Remove from the pan to a paper towel.
Remove the soup from the burner and blend loosely with a hand blender so that some of the mixture is puréed (for a velvety texture), yet some of the mushroom slices remain whole (so that you get the occasional meaty bite). Taste the soup and adjust for seasoning as necessary. Serve hot, topped with a dollop of crème fraiche and a few crisped up slices of mushroom.