For years I stopped cooking with mushrooms altogether after my husband had a bad experience with them whilst he was living in rural China. The mushrooms (which were store bought, cleaned and cooked thoroughly) were somehow contaminated with the spores of another more dangerous fungi. Unfortunately for him, he spent the next 36 hours sweating, sick from purging and with audible hallucinations. As a result, our household was mushroom free for years until we left China.
Now that we’re away from mushrooms that make you trip balls (and not in a good way), we have slowly started re-introducing them into our diet. I can now add them to my arroz con pollo, breakfast omelettes, sweet soy and chili rice noodles, and even soup.
Mushroom soup, however, is one of those dishes, which I love but have always struggled to add flavor to. I’ve added bacon to the mix, various herbs and spices, experimented with different types of mushrooms and a sundry assortment of liquors. Nothing really hit the spot, so I gave up recipes and just free styled it by adding some of my favorite ingredients: lemon zest and fresh thyme.
This combination works wonders for the soup and I find it tastes better the next day making it a great soup to make ahead of time to bring to the table for a dinner party or put in the freezer for a rainy day.
2 tsp fresh thyme
400g (14oz) shitake mushrooms
240 ml (8 oz) white wine
950ml (32oz) chicken broth
200 ml (~7 oz) cream
2 tbsp shallots (minced)
2 tbsp butter
3 – 4 cloves garlic (minced)
1-2 tsp finely grated lemon zest
scallions for garnish
Using a dampened cloth, wash the mushrooms and remove the fibrous stems. Slice them up and put in a bowl. Set aside.
Heat 2 tbsp butter over low-medium heat in saucepan. Add minced shallots, minced garlic and fresh thyme and cook on low-medium heat until soft and fragrant. When ready, add mushrooms and sauté until they have darkened, are soft and all the moisture as been cooked off.
Increase the heat and deglaze the pan with 1 cup white wine. Bring to a boil and let reduce by about 1/4. Add chicken stock and cook on medium high heat for about 7-10 min or until all flavors have married together. Reduce heat to low and add cream and lemon zest. Stir and let cook for 3-5 minutes on low to allow the cream and lemon zest to infuse into the soup.
Using a blender or food processor, take half of the soup out and puree it. Add pureed mixture back into the soup, mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste and garnish with chopped scallions. Serve with a crisp garden salad and cheesy garlic bread. Enjoy!