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Creamless Mushroom Soup

Posted By Chris On February 9, 2009 @ 8:46 pm In Italian,Salads and Light Soups,Vegetarian | 7 Comments

I found this recipe on Pino Luongo’s blog, and it also appears in his cookbook, La Mia Cucina Toscana: A Tuscan Cooks in America. Frequent readers of this blog know that Lisa and I both love mushrooms, and the prospect of a creamless creamy soup sounded really appealing. We had also just picked up a big bag of black trumpet mushrooms at the Farmers Market and were eager to try them out. While simple, this isn’t a quick recipe — the tomato puree bakes for an hour and a half — so if you’re going to tackle this one, save it for a weekend. Unless, of course, you don’t mind waiting for a good thing.

Creamless Mushroom Soup
Oven-Dried Tomato Puree:
2 lbs Roma tomatoes, halved lengthwise
2 tbsp fine sea salt
2 tsp sugar
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
6 fresh thyme sprigs
6 garlic cloves, sliced
12 fresh basil leaves, torn by hand

Preheat the oven to 300˚F. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper and arrange the tomato halves cut-side up on it in a single layer. Mix the salt and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle the tomatoes with the mixture. Then sprinkle with the rosemary, thyme, garlic, and basil. Put the cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 90 minutes, until the tomatoes are dried but not shriveled.
Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Pick off and discard the garlic and herbs. While the tomatoes are still warm, puree them in a food processor or blender. Set aside while you make the soup.

Soup:
extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
pinch of hot red pepper flakes
1 large Russet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4″ cubes
fine sea salt
5 cups vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1½ pounds mixed wild mushrooms — we used black trumpet, portobello, shiitake, and porcini — stems removed, large ones quartered, small ones halved or left whole
freshly ground black pepper

Pour the stock into a small pot and set to simmer. Pour 2 tbsp of olive oil into a large dutch oven to generously coat the bottom. Warm over medium-high heat. Add the onion, minced garlic, and red pepper and cook until the onion is browned, about 4 minutes.
Add the potato, season with salt, cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the tomato puree. Cook for 5 minutes, then add the simmering stock. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cook until the potatoes are cooked through, about 5 more minutes. Blend the soup with an immersion blender until creamy.
Pour 2 tbsp into a wide deep skillet to coat the bottom. Warm the oil over medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic and rosemary and sauté until the garlic is browned, about 1 minute. Stir in the mushrooms, season with salt and black pepper, and sauté until the mushrooms are wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove and discard the rosemary, then add the mushrooms to the soup.
Place the dutch oven on low heat and let the soup simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste, adjust the seasoning if necessary, and finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Ladle into bowls and serve with warm garlic bread.

4-6 Appetizer-sized servings


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