Tuesday, January 4, 2011

There's a fungus amongus. And it's deeelicious!

I've been on a tear in the kitchen lately but I had to take a 2 or 3 day hiatus. That's because our fridge is full of leftovers. Even if I did cook a new meal, I wouldn't have anywhere to put the leftovers because the containers are all being used already. Sigh.....time off from work, ingredients available, and no room in the stomach or refrigerator. Such a tease.

I couldn't help myself today. I was getting anxious. I couldn't contain my excitement about this recipe. And hubby was out of the house, so I just had to make my creamy mushroom bisque while I could do it without hearing complaining about fungus infiltrating the house all day.

So I amassed my pile of mushrooms and the rest of the ingredients:
I was a little confused when I first read the recipe. It said the soup would take a total of 70 minutes, with 50 of those being active prep. The recipe didn't look like it required that much work (and I was even going to streamline the blending process and while testing out my immersion blender!). Well, I found those 50 minutes. See that big bowl of mushrooms? Yeah. They needed to be diced.

I bought all the portobellos that the store had and that wasn't enough for the recipe so I filled in the rest with criminis. That was actually a good thing before I even knew it. All those little criminis were diced using my egg slicer! I'm not sure how much time I actually saved, but I got into a rhythm of mushroom-in-chop-turn-mushroom-chop-dump-repeat quite easily.
This is what I was working toward:

I used my food chopper for the onions and a plain ol' knife for the portobellos. That was definitely the bulk of the prep time. It took a while but not much energy. In to the pot go 1/2 the oil and 1/2 the mushrooms. Saute', repeat, and huff and puff that this is what you're left with:

I will resist the urge to whine and just move on. I reserved 3/4 cup of the sauteed mushrooms to provide a bit of texture in the end. The rest went back into the pot with the onion and  4 cloves of pressed garlic. Once that started smelling good, I added 1/2 a cup of brandy and let that cook out a bit before adding 4 cups of chicken stock, 1/4 cup of uncooked rice, 2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme, and 1 cup of heavy cream. With a little salt and pepper, I let the mixture simmer for about 25 minutes.
I had to distract myself for those 25 minutes so I wouldn't blend the soup prematurely and get uncooked rice stuck in my immersion blender, but finally, the time had come! No need to dirty up a blender (that incidentally, I don't own). I used the immersion blender right in the pot and it worked like a charm (thanks Tina!!).
I added the reserved mushrooms back in the pot, let it simmer for another 5 minutes or so, and then it was the moment I'd been waiting for! The bisque tasted just as good as I imagined. Decadent, filling, but not too rich. If you even just like mushrooms, I highly recommend this soup. If you love mushrooms like me, I highly suggest you buy in to a farm in Kennett Square.

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