Mushrooms: one of those foods, well, fungi, that you either love or despise.

I, for one, am a huge fan. Mushrooms are not only delicious and rich but high in fiber and vitamins, adding texture and immense umami flavor to dishes. One of the best ways to highlight the mushroom is within a creamy base in a dish: mushroom soup (sorry Campbell’s, we’ve just grown apart).

Here I use wild mushrooms because, defying winter, there are a few varieties that continue to grow during this season and they are so tasty: oyster, wood ears and velvet shank. You can use a mixture of wild and more familiar mushrooms you see every week in the grocery store.

This recipe is so easy to make and yields an extremely rich and satisfying soup to enjoy during these colder, darker months. Serve with some crusty bread, a simple green salad (I like arugula with a lemon/oil dressing and shreds of Parmesan-Reggiano) and enjoy!

Mushroom Soup

Equipment:
Heavy pot
Slotted spoon
Blender

Ingredients:
3 tablespoons butter
3 ounces shallots (about 2 large ones), chopped
1 ½ pounds wild mushrooms, roughly chopped
3 cups chicken stock
2 ½ cups whipping cream
2 bay leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
Chives, snipped, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Melt your butter over medium heat in a heavy pot. Add in the chopped shallots and allow them to cook for about 90 seconds.
  2. Turn up the heat to high, add in your coarsely chopped mushrooms and cook them for about five minutes. You should see them releasing some of their liquid.
  3. Add into the pot your chicken stock, cream, bay leaves and some salt and pepper. Bring this mixture to a boil and then immediately reduce the heat to low and allow soup to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Take your pot off the heat and allow it to cool just a bit. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bay leaves.
  5. Pour the soup into a blender — you may have to do this in batches — and blend until the soup is smooth and the mushroom chunks have been blended into the liquid.
  6. Return the soup to its pot, warm it up to your desired temperature.
  7. Serve in individual bowls and garnish with chives and more pepper/salt.