The Soup Blog
Recipes, Culinary Insights & Humor Spooned Up Fresh Every Week…………………(Now in its Ice Cream Phase)
Magic Mushrooms

‘shrooms

At our house mushrooms are magical, not in a crazy Timothy Leary kind of way, but because of fairies.

As any parent of daughters knows, mushroom circles are known as fairy or pixie rings and serve as portals to the supernatural world. European and American folklore is filled with stories of mortals witnessing fairies coming and going through these circles.  And more often than not the mortals are lured in, disappearing for months, years or forever.

Heady stuff.

As such, the preparation of mushrooms at our house is packed with significance.  Now I’m not sure whether some cooking techniques drain the fungi of their powers while others amplify them, but I do know that how you like your mushrooms says a lot about your nature. Our eldest, who is more spritely, prefers her mushrooms fresh in salads or all by themselves.  Our youngest, the imp, likes hers cooked or, better yet, pulverized into a soup.  We parents like them several ways—as dressing for a warm spinach salad, as garnish for chicken stew or in a savory oniony paste known as duxelle, to name just a few.  This represents the higher level of complexity in the adult brain although it could just as easily be symptomatic of the personality disorders brought on by lack of sleep.

Further evidence of this is the adult love of fungi beyond mushrooms.  I’m speaking specifically about our beloved wine and beer, a gift from the mushroom’s fungal cousin, yeast.  Although cheese, the perfect companion to both beverages, also benefits from fungal intervention.  How would we get blue cheeses, bries or my personal favorite chevre without the contribution of molds (another type of fungus)?

But I digress.  Let’s get back to fairies.

Not that I’m saying we dress up in wings and tights every time we make mushroom soup.  (Not all of us anyway.)  Neither do I trade in my cooking spoon for a wand. But the goal aligns nicely with all of these accessories: to create flavors that transport us to another place, even another realm.

That’s why this week’s soup has one foot in the fungal world of childhood and one foot in that of adults.  This mushroom soup, pureed as my daughter likes it, begins with a skillet large enough to sauté the mushrooms and onions to the point of browning.  If you use too small a pan and crowd your ingredients you run the risk of steaming them instead and the flavor’s not the same.  (This is true for most foods, actually.  If you want to brown, you need enough room!).  Next add the stock, half & half and seasoning and simmer for a while longer.  Then comes the blending to give the soup a nice, smooth consistency.

Thus far it’s pretty kid friendly.

After that, though, you add blue cheese, stirring until it dissolves into the mix. Don’t put in too much.  It has a tendency to overwhelm the mushrooms, but if that’s what you’re looking for, feel free. Be warned, though, if you serve this soup outside, you may incur the wrath of the wee folk and face dire consequences.

You might just disappear into a bowl.

Blue Cheese Mushroom Soup
(serves 6-8)
1 ½ T butter
1 ½ cups onion, chopped
1 ½ lbs, crimini mushrooms, sliced
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 ½ cups half & half
Salt & pepper, to taste
½ cup blue cheese, crumbled

  1. Melt the butter in a large skillet  and sauté the onion and mushrooms together until lightly browned (6-8 minutes).
  2. Place mushrooms and onions into a 3 quart sauce pot, add stock, half & half and seasoning.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. (Watch it, though.  Simmering anything with dairy can quickly get out of control)
  3. (optional) Puree the soup with an immersion or standing blender.
  4. After 30-45 minutes stir in the blue cheese until it dissolves.
  5. Heat the soup through once more and serve.  Either for lunch with a sandwich on crusty bread or on a cool spring night with a garlicky pasta.

Image Credit:  A simple bowl of mushrooms photographed by the author.  My self-proclaimed china-freak wife would probably point out that the bowl is from Lindt Stymeist. I’m fine with that.

If you have any otherworldly experiences as a result of this posting, I’d love to hear about them, but call 911 first.  Thanks for reading.  Thanks even more for sharing, commenting and participating.  I’ll be reading and responding. Am I a fun guy or what?

 

 

Leave a Comment to “Magic Mushrooms”

  1. Michael Larsen says:

    This looks awesome!

    • pcandres says:

      Only one way to find out. Make it. Let me know how it turns out. Thanks for the comment.

  2. Titania says:

    I don’t think the Elizabethans had a word for WOW so that’s what it will have to be. I love the combination of the mushrooms and blue cheese and didn’t have any problem with the simmering. I’m not that careful but did look in on the pot occasionally. I gave Oberon a cupful even though he’d already had his supper. Keep it up !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • pcandres says:

      I think the Elizabethans might say something like ‘Zounds, but would probably use a phrase instead. I’m glad you made it and even more glad you liked it. Keep it up yourself.

  3. Katy Hickman says:

    Oh dear friends, how wonderful you are and how much we miss you! I’m a startin’ tonight with the mushrooms and will tip a glass your way in celebration. Excellent work!

    • pcandres says:

      Thanks for reading this thing. A glass of white, dry or sweet would work well with this soup. Sweet to cut the blue cheese. Dry to oppose the richness of the mushrooms. Let me know how it goes.

  4. Cynthia Berry Meyer says:

    Hi, Hope all is well! Katy told me about your soup blog. I know it’s not soup, but any chance you’ll be publishing that fabulous apple cheesecake recipe you made a couple of times for pot lucks?

    • pcandres says:

      Hi Cynthia, I’d be happy to pass along the recipe for the Apple Bavarian Torte. But I’d better do it offline, lest there be some knock down drag out copyright battle.
      Phil

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