cream of mushroom soup

I've been craving cream of mushroom soup for a while now, so while we were grocery shopping in the Italian Center on the weekend I made up my mind at the sight of some beautiful shitake mushrooms.  I mean, how could I resist, right?  I also picked up some portobello and cremini as well, because I like to mix the flavours and textures.  Trevor wanted some meat in this soup, but I didn't want anything to overpower the delicate, earthy mushroom flavours, so we compromised and I fried up some minced speck ham as a garnish.  Speck is like smoked pruscuitto - yummy and salty.  I didn't follow a recipe, this is one of my own kitchen inventions - which means, I had to remind myself to pay attention to how much/what I was adding.  (trust me, that's harder than it sounds).  This soup was realllly good.  It definitely hit the spot - and leftovers made a great lunch at work.  And, as a bonus, it didn't take very long to make.  

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp butter
  • 1 leek, finely chopped (tough green parts at the top removed)
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • about 5 cups mushrooms, diced (cremini, shitake, portobello)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup dry white wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups light cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 100g sliced speck ham or bacon, diced

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  Add the leeks and flour and saute until they are softened and fragrant.  Add the mushrooms, salt & pepper and continue sauteing for another 3 minutes.  Add the wine, stir and allow the mixture to cook for about 5 minutes, then add the chicken stock and bring the soup to a boil.  Allow the soup to boil for about 10 minutes, then turn the heat right down.  When the soup is barely simmering, add the cream gradually, while stirring.  Allow the soup to come back up to a simmer over low heat.  If you heat the soup too quickly it can cause the cream to curdle and separate, so be patient, it doesn't take too long.  Allow the soup to simmer gently for a few minutes, then season with salt & pepper to taste.

While the soup is coming up to a simmer, heat a frying pan over medium heat.  Melt the butter, then fry the speck until it's crispy and brown.  (If you're using bacon, don't use any butter, just fry it).  Serve up the soup while it's steaming hot with a sprinkle of crispy speck on top and some freshly sliced baguette on the side.