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Wild Mushroom Bisque Soup – The temperatures may not be representative of the season but it’s soup time regardless.
I thought it would be fun to cook my way through an old cookbook I found at home in France while I was there earlier this month. The first recipe is for what has to be the best mushroom bisque – one made with a variety of wild mushrooms found in the woods near home.
Here are some of the unique characteristics of the mushrooms I used in my wild mushroom bisque soup. This is not an inexpensive soupto prepare when ingredients are “from scratch”. I’ve included the price tag for each type of mushroom.
Royal trumpet mushrooms, also known as King Oyster mushrooms, grow in clusters and have a nutty flavor plus an incredibly long shelf life. [1/3 lb @ $8.99 / lb.]
As one of the most common cultivated edible mushroom, oyster mushrooms are easier to find in supermarkets. A 1/4 lb. purchased in bulk cost $1.68.
Hen of the Woods mushrooms grow in clusters at the base of oak trees. Don’t use the tough base of the cluster. The older the mushroom, the tougher is gets. This pricey mushroom has the most intense woodsy aroma and a price to match. 1/3 of a pound @ $12.99 per pound!
A more reasonably priced ($6.99) mushroom is the Shiitake mushroom. Often found dried, the fresh mushroom has a strong woodsy aroma and is perfect for soups.
Crimini mushrooms are the tan version of a white button mushroom but they have a more intense flavor. Another name for this baby ‘shroom? Baby Bellas! When it grows up, it becomes a Portobello 🙂
Clean all mushrooms. I brush them off with a paper towel and try not to have to wash them. If they are particularly “dirty” with growing medium, rinse them quickly under running water or remove part of the stem. Scrape off any other specs with the blade of a knife.
Chop the mushroom into diced pieces – not so small that they will turn to mush. Set aside.
Slice the scallions, chop the parsley and shallots if you decide to use some. Set aside.
Chop the stale bread into large crumbs. My grandma always had the “butt end” of stale baguettes stashed in a linen bag for just this purpose.
In a large bowl, mix the chopped mushrooms, scallions, parsley and fresh herbs until well combined.
Add butter to a large Dutch oven. Melt the butter then add the mushroom mixture to the pan.
Sauté on medium low heat for about 6 to 8 minutes, stirring often with a wooden spoon or silicone slotted spoon. Season to taste. Do not allow mushrooms to burn – just sweat them down and cook till tender.
Remove about 1/3 of the mixture to a small bowl. Set aside.
Add bread crumbs to mushroom mixture in the pan and stir to combine evenly. Sauté for about 5 minutes then add chicken stock.
Many of these old fashioned recipes prepared with locally sourced ingredients seem overly complicated and tedious. These home style recipes (recettes du terroir) are tied to ingredients available locally as regional specialties (such as the wild mushrooms found in the nearby woodlands) and those found in the family potager.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see us (Grandmère and I) head out to the backyard during the late afternoon to gather the vegetables and herbs required for the evening meal.
Don’t let the many recipe steps scare you from preparing this mushroom bisque. You will be rewarded with a bowl of the ultimate in comfort food.
All you need to add to the dinner menu is a sandwich and a small salad.
Adding cream and eggs to a rich broth result in a bisque that will warm up even the chilliest of evenings.