It's a good thing I like mushroom soup.
Our neighborhood has a New Year's Eve progressive dinner; this year it was my turn to do the soup, and I made a huge pot of mushroom and chestnut soup with Parmesan cream, a recipe I got from NPR, of all odd places. It was delicious, but we'd just finished eating the leftovers when this soup came up for French Fridays.
So many mushrooms!
One stalk of rosemary packs a lot of punch when it's simmered in broth for 20 minutes. The recipe says that the rosemary sprig will lose its leaves after being simmered.
I doubted that; the leaves looked firmly attached. Amazingly, after 20 minutes, the rosemary stalk was a shadow of its former self.
The mushrooms cook down nicely. Every step of this soup took longer than I anticipated. It took at least 10 minutes (rather than the 3 suggested by the recipe) for the onions and garlic to soften, and at least another 10 minutes for the mushrooms' juices to boil away. So, although this is an easy recipe, it's not as quick as I thought it would be.
I love the idea of the "salad" at the bottom of the soup bowl: sliced mushrooms, parsley, and scallions (no chives because I'd already spent enough money on out-of-season herbs--I miss my little herb garden, now covered by two feet of snow).
I used my Christmas-present immersion blender to puree the soup. I don't know how I ever got along with it--so much easier than pureeing batch by batch in the food processor, especially if you have to wait for the motor to cool down between batches.
The salad is such a nice textural contrast to the smooth soup. And there are a lot of flavors too: the rosemary comes through in every bite. The parsley (an underused and underregarded herb, in my opinion) added brightness and the scallions a little bite.
The creme fraiche is a rather unattractive sinking dollop at first, but when it begins to melt, it makes pretty, creamy patterns.
This is just a wonderful soup. It's warm, comforting, delicious, and even interesting to eat. I'm not sure if it's better than the mushroom-chestnut-Parmesan cream soup than last week, but it's at least as good. And I love having two super mushroom soups in my repertoire. To think that I used to think that mushroom soup = Campbell's.
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By the way, I never posted about Gerard's mushroom tart--but here's proof that I made it: