Well, hello! Magical 'shroom catch your eye? :)
As tantalizing as that sounds, we're really talking about the soup here. Fabulous tasty mushrooms that made for a magical soup!
So, the mushroom love is stronger than ever around here - even Vodka is on mushrooms now! His holistic vet suggested, no, insisted that he start consuming a medicinal mushroom mix - beefs up the immune system, restores body balance, support natural killer cell activity, all that good stuff. In fact, there are volumes of research about medicinal mushrooms here, here ... and here. I'm sure there are a zillion other sites out there talking about similar stuff.
So, I'll eventually get around to talking more about holistic meds and pooches and immunity and chinese herbs and all that good stuff pretty soon. In the meantime, let's just focus on this simple and delightful mushroom soup :)
Deborah Madison has a yummy Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe in Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone - sounded a tad bit heavy, so I decided to rework it a bit. Obviously, the white mushrooms were replaced by criminis - so much richer and earthier, don't you think? And the cream was quickly replaced by some fabulous Quark.
Quark is pretty prevalent in Europe, but is still hard to come by in the U.S. Luckily, for us in the Pacific Northwest, we have Appel Farms in Ferndale, WA - they sell their Quark at PCC. This midly, creamy curd cheese is so flavourful and makes for a fabulous cheesecake [take that as an impending recipe warning! :)] Plus, Vodka is pretty much hooked onto it, what with its high protein content and anecdotal cancer-fighting properties when combined with flax-seed oil [take that an impending pooch-nutrition blog warning!]
Finally, a handful of fresh herbs perfectly complimented the 'shroom flavours and balanced out the earthiness.
'Creamy shroomy goodness!
1 lb crimini mushrooms
1 t butter
1 cup chopped leeks
4 garlic cloves - chopped
4 sprigs of lemon thyme - stripped from the stems
1 T flour
1 quart of water (OR water+nonfat milk OR mushroom stock)
1/2-1 cup nonfat Quark cheese
Finely chopped parsley and chives
1 T goat cheese
salt and freshly ground pepper
Mix up the goat cheese with the chives and parsley and set aside while the soup is being made. This gives the goat cheese enough time to absorb the flavours of the herbs.
Coarsely chop the lot of mushrooms, after setting a few aside for garnish (if desired).
Melt the butter in a soup pot and lightly sauté the leeks, garlic and thyme in it for a few minutes.
Throw in 1/2 t salt and 1/2 cup of water and cook covered over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
Raise the heat, throw in the chopped mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Now, stir in the flour, add the water (or stock) and bring to a boil.
Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 15-20 minutes.
Coarsely puree the soup, return it to the pot and stir in the Quark cheese. Season with salt and pepper while keeping the soup warm.
If you set aside some mushrooms for garnish, now is a good time to sauté them over high heat in a bit of butter - it should take 4-5 minutes for the mushrooms to get colored and mildly crispy [this is seriously tasty stuff!]
Check for seasoning before serving topped with the herbed goat cheese.
A plain-looking soup that explodes with flavour! I can see this being a great winter warmer when made with cream, but the lighter, thinner version was the perfect warmer for a rainy Seattle evening :)
I'd love to say I grew the mushrooms, but I obviously didn't! But I did get the chives and parsley from my veggie patch! Which means I get to ship this post off to Wiffy of Noob Cook for this round of Grow Your Own [that happy event started by Andrea!]