2LC: Mushrooms

After a short hiatus, Two Little Chefettes have returned with their monthly cooking challenge. The ingredient for November is mushrooms. Thank you Ridha and Bebe!

I tend to have rather strong opinions about mushrooms. I think that most people cook them on too low a heat, for too long a time, with too much fat and without enough seasoning – the result being a rubbery, unappealing ingredient. I always cook mushrooms on a high heat, with just a little fat, with plenty of salt and pepper, and almost always with some sherry. That is how the Portobellos are prepared for this recipe. They are then stirred into the soup at the last minute. The result is a silky soup with slightly caramelized mushrooms.

Creamy Portobello Mushroom Soup

4 T. unsalted butter, divided

2 T. potato starch

2 c. flavorful vegetable broth (mine is a golden-orange because it has lots of carrots and some tomatoes)

2 c. whole milk*

1/2 c. chopped yellow onion

4 c. very thinly sliced fresh Portobello mushrooms

splash of dry pale sherry

salt and fresh ground pepper

1/4 t. ground paprika

1. Melt 2 T. of the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Whisk in the potato starch. Once the mixture is completely smooth, slowly whisk in the vegetable stock. Continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until perfectly smooth and slightly thickened. Whisk in the milk; and again, continue cooking, whisking occasionally, until perfectly smooth and slightly thickened.

2. Using about 1/2 T. of the remaining butter, saute onions in another pan until starting to turn translucent and lightly golden, but still slightly crisp. Stir into the soup base. The soup base will continue to thicken and will need to be whisked every few minutes.

3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan from the onions, stir in the mushrooms, and saute until almost cooked. Add the sherry and then salt and pepper the mushrooms. The sherry should be absorbed fairly quickly at which time the mushrooms should be done cooking. Stir mushrooms into soup base.

4. Stir in paprika and then adjust seasonings. Serve right away. Enjoy!

* Once time when I made this soup, I substituted soy milk. I thought that the soup turned out too sweet. So I would recommend sticking to regular milk.