February 23, 2011

Jeffrey and Juli's Mushroom Bisque

This recipe was inspired by a recent post from one of my favorite blogs, The Iowa Housewife.  I was making the Fresh Mushroom Bisque recently featured there and had just about finished cooking the soup.  Jeffrey and I tend to like our food on the spicy side, and we wanted to perk the recipe up by adding more herbs and seasoning.  So we came up with a variation on the fly that adds thyme, bay leaf and cayenne pepper. 

We actually had to add the herbs and spices at the end, but that's not ideal, so the recipe is written the way we should have done it (if we weren't adjusting for flavor after the fact).  The finished soup is decadently creamy with a really deep, meaty mushroom flavor.  It is light years apart from condensed mushroom soup and manages to be both elegant and hearty.  Trough-worthy, for sure!

Jeffrey and Juli's Mushroom Bisque

4 generous servings

4 ounces fresh white mushrooms, cut into eighths
4 ounces fresh white mushrooms, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, minced
1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon instant chicken bouillon
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf

6 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups half and half cream

4 tablespoons butter for sauteing onion, mushrooms, and garlic
1/4 cup sherry

1.  Start by chopping the mushrooms, onion, and garlic as directed.  Set aside.

2.  Using a small sauce pan, add the chicken broth and heat on medium low until just simmering.  Add the instant bouillon and whisk until mixed thoroughly.  Add thyme sprigs and the bay leaf.  Simmer all together for 5 minutes.  Remove the thyme sprigs and the bay leaf with a slotted spoon.

3. Using a 2 quart sauce pan or small Dutch oven, melt 6 tablespoons of butter on medium low heat.  Add flour, salt, white and cayenne peppers.  Cook over low heat.   When the mixture begins to bubble, remove from heat.  Add chicken stock, milk, and half and half cream slowly, whisking as you add the liquid to avoid lumps.  Stir constantly until mixture is smooth.  Cook over medium heat until thickened (keep stirring!), remove from heat and set aside.

4.  Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a large saute pan/skillet.  Add minced onions and cook for 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid and shrink, and the mushroom liquid has cooked off.  Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Add sherry to the pan to deglaze and cook until the sherry has mostly cooked off or been absorbed by the mushroom mixture.

5.  Stir the mushroom mixture into the cream mixture and cook on low heat until heated through.

We served our soup with fresh ground black pepper, a little garnish of grated cheddar cheese, and oyster crackers.

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