Cookbook Profile

Fin de Siècle
Cream of Mushroom Soup


Gone are the days of ornate soup tureens and sixteen-course meals, and with it, heavy, porridge-like cream soups. My version of classic cream of mushroom soup is thickened with potato, and the cream is optional. The mix of mushrooms gives the soup a well-rounded flavor, and the leeks add sweetness and color.


3 leeks (about 1-1/2 pounds),
   trimmed, white and light green parts only
8 ounces shiitakes
8 ounces (about 2 large) portobellos
8 ounces cremini
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1 large (about 8 ounces) russet potato,
   peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
1 ounce (about 1 cup) dried porcini
8 cups hot water
2 tablespoons dry sherry
Kosher salt or sea salt
   and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 to 1/3 cup heavy (or whipping) cream, (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
Mushroom-Dust Croutons (optional; see the book)


1. Cut the leeks into white and green parts. Cut all parts in half lengthwise, keeping the parts separate, then cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick strips. Rinse leeks as described, keeping the whites and greens separate.

2. Trim the stems off all the mushrooms and coarsely chop them. Set aside. Cut the portobello caps into quarters and with a paring knife, cut off the black gills on the underside of the cap. Peel and discard the dark outer layer from the portobello caps; it should lift off easily. Slice all the mushroom caps 1/4 inch thick.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a heavy 4-quart pot over medium heat. Add the potato, leek whites, and mushroom stems and stir to coat with butter. Cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile place the dried porcini in a medium-size bowl and add 2 cups of hot water. Soak until softened, about 20 minutes. Drain, straining the soaking liquid through a coffee filter or a sieve lined with a double thickness of cheesecloth. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit and coarsely chop them.

5. Add the mushroom soaking liquid, 2 cups of hot water, and the chopped dried mushrooms to the pot. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

6. Working in batches, transfer the contents of the pot to a blender and blend on low speed until smooth. Return each batch to the pot and, when all is blended, add 4 cups of hot water.

7. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the leek greens and sliced mushrooms. Cook, tossing the mushrooms so they cook evenly, until they are wilted and begin to release their liquid, about 5 minutes. Increase the heat to high and cook until the liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry and boil until evaporated, about 2 minutes. Transfer the contents of the skillet to the soup pot. Heat the soup to a simmer, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the cream. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

8. Serve the soup hot, sprinkled with chopped chives and croutons, if desired.

Buy the Book!


The Mushroom Lover's
Mushroom Cookbook and Primer

By Amy Farges
Workman Publishing, September, 2000
Paperback, $16.95, Hardcover: $26.95
ISBN: 0-7611-0660-X (Paperback)
ISBN: 0-7611-2202-8 (Hardcover)
Recipe reprinted by permission.


The Mushroom Lover's
Mushroom Cookbook and Primer



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This page created March 2001