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A bowl holding a beautiful wild mushroom soup is the perfect way to enjoy fall. Made with mushrooms like shiitakes, creminis, white and brown beech are just a few in this soup. Creamy and robust, garnished with fried rosemary and tangy crème fraiche, this soup will help you gather around the table with loved ones or old friends. An easy mushroom soup recipe to make, this will quickly become a favorite!
One of the greatest things I got to witness many times as a chef was groups of people coming together for a special occasion. Be it anniversaries, first dates, Valentine’s Day, families reuniting, what have you. It always warmed my heart to know that I was a small part of making those special memories for people. I got to know a couple so well at one of my restaurants, that I would have their food made before their server took their order (they always got the same thing, don’t freak out).
I later learned that this couple always came to the same restaurant every Friday night as part of their date night. If anyone asks what one of my favorite parts of being a chef was, it was this.
However, being a chef meant that I didn’t always have that special time with my loved one, working 12-14-hour days while he worked and went to school. Even now, with him in graduate school and I’m home with our sweet little guy, it can be hard to make time to reconnect, which is super essential for being married. But we make a special effort to date weekly and that helps the endless days of studying not seem so hard.
One way that we do this is by sharing dinner together. It’s especially important for our son to see Mommy and Daddy eating dinner together and talking with one another. Now that our son is 2, he is very much the social eater and insists on Daddy sitting next to him or that he and Mommy have lunch together.
This wild mushroom soup is the perfect way to help my husband and I reconnect in the hurried times of our lives for the past few years. I might be tooting my own horn, but this is probably the best mushroom soup recipe I’ve ever tasted. It starts with a lot of love, and you can taste it in the soup. Believe it or not, dairy farmers help bring my family together more than I’ve realized!
Using Different Types of Mushrooms
The key to making this the best mushroom soup is by using a variety of different mushrooms in the recipe. Keep in mind, however, that not all mushrooms are created equal and each needs to be treated slightly differently.
Let’s go over the different mushrooms in this recipe:
- White and Brown Beech
Each of these mushrooms has such a great flavor profile that works well together to create such a great wild mushroom soup. Feel free to use any type of mushroom you like; I just find these varieties easy to get ahold of.
Shiitakes are a great mushroom for this recipe because they have their own tanginess to them, which works super well with the crème fraiche garnish (more on that later). I find that to get the most out of these mushrooms, you need to sear them first before throwing them into the soup to really bring out their flavor!
Cremini mushrooms are no more than just baby Portobello mushrooms, but that means that they have an insanely dense and meaty texture to them! They really help give this mushroom soup the robust flavor it needs!
Button mushrooms are ones that everyone is familiar with. They’re a great filler mushroom and help mellow out some of the stronger flavors!
White and Brown Beech mushrooms are a fun Japanese type of mushroom that are small and just cute all around. I opted to throw half into the soup and sauté the rest for the garnish of the soup. You can’t help but just love them when you see them.
Oyster mushrooms are a fantastic mushroom to add to a soup. They often come in clusters and have a slight sweetness to them when they’re raw. When they’re cooked, though, they take on a fantastic meatiness to them that is great with this soup.
While each mushroom has a different shape and size, it’s generally known that mushrooms must be cleaned. They’re grown in dirt and who knows what else. So, it’s essential that you clean them before cooking.
There is an old dilemma of how do you clean a mushroom. Some people say that you need to wipe them with a damp cloth to clean off all the gunk because the mushrooms would absorb too much water any other way. However, a certain celebrity chef on a certain cooking show in a particular cooking network proved that false.
The quickest way to clean a mushroom is to give them a little bath in some cold water. This makes sure that all the dirty gunk is off in as little time as possible. And with about 3 pounds of mushrooms to clean, you don’t have all day to clean them.
Making Mushroom Stock
I’m a huge believer in the total utilization of a product as possible. When it comes to adding liquid for this mushroom to cook in, I made my own mushroom stock, and you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is.
After removing and trimming the woodier stems off of the mushrooms, simply place them in a large stock pot (along with the peels from your other soup ingredients as well if you like), with thyme, rosemary, and black peppercorns. The result is a super flavorful stock that tastes just like mushrooms!
I made a similar mushroom stock for my Wild Mushroom Risotto.
How to Make Wild Mushroom Soup
Like all good and tasty soups, this soup has a foundation (not mushrooms) that it’s built on. All good soups start with what’s called mirepoix. Mirepoix is a French term for aromatics that are foundational for soups and stocks. A traditional mirepoix calls for onions, carrots, and celery. With this soup, though, I didn’t want the orange of the carrots to mess with the color of my soup. Instead, I opted for parsnips, which have a great carrot taste but are white!
I decided to add my mushrooms in batches, not because I wanted a good sear on them or anything but because I wanted what I had to be a workable amount. I let each batch cook a bit and the juices release and reduce before adding my next batch of mushrooms, which helped to intensify the flavor.
My secret weapon in making any delicious soup or sauce is throwing in what the French call a sachet d’espices, another fancy term for aromatics tied up in cheesecloth. This is super effective to lend those flavors to a soup, sauce, or a braising dish over a long period of time without having to fish out each element of the sachet. A typical sachet contains thyme, black peppercorns, red chile flakes, and bay leaves. I added rosemary because that pine-y woodiness goes super well with the earthy notes of mushrooms.
Once the mushroom soup has cooked sufficiently and has been blended, I always run my soup through a strainer. That’s an extra step but it also ensures a super smooth consistency
Now, you may be tempted to add the cream in with the soup while it’s cooking, but I advise against it, mainly because I like to add acid to my soups, especially creamy ones because it helps enhance the rich flavors of the soup. If you add lemon juice to a soup that already has warm cream or milk, the acid will curdle the dairy and you’ll end up with cheese in your soup.
What I like to do is blend my soup, add lemon juice, and then add warmed cream to the soup. The cream can help adjust the consistency of the soup without watering down the flavor.
What is Crème Fraiche
When it comes to garnishing the soup, I thought that some fried rosemary would add a fun pop of color to an otherwise drab looking soup (I’ll be honest, mushroom soup does not have an attractive color). Of course, I had to garnish with some sautéed mushrooms because, duh, mushrooms. I also added crème fraiche for that nice striking white.
What is crème fraiche? Crème fraiche is a super fancy French sour cream (a third shout out to classic French cooking!) that you can buy in the store, or you can make at home. Since I did this chef thing for a long time, let me tell you how easy it is to make!
Crème fraiche consists of nothing more than buttermilk and heavy cream. The ratio changes from chef to chef, but the basic ratio is 5-6 parts heavy cream to 1 part buttermilk. You stir that together, seal in an airtight container and let it sit out overnight! Put it in the fridge and voila, crème fraiche! Use it within 7 days, though.
If you don’t want to spend a ton of money on fancy French creme fraiche or make it yourself, you can use sour cream instead!
The Farm to Table Movement: Dairy Farmers
While this soup is all about the mushrooms, it wouldn’t be velvety smooth and creamy without cream! As a chef, I had the privilege of working closely with local purveyors and farmers. I gained a real passion for sustaining and supporting local farmers as much as I can afford. They’re fantastic for local economies and farmers are what keep our country running.
My family loves dairy (we go through 3 gallons in one week) and living in Arizona, there are tons of dairy farms around. My great-grandfather was a dairy farmer and a hardworking man. He employed many people, including family members, to help run his dairy farms to provide milk and other dairy products to the populace of Central Arizona.
Not only do I have a professional connection to dairy farms and other farmers alike, but I also have a personal connection as well. Farmers, and the amazing work that they do bring families and friends together to enjoy each other’s company and to reconnect.
Dairy farmers, much like other farmers, are environmentally minded and try to have the lowest impact on the earth as possible. The dairy products we consume are much more responsibly produced than most people realize. To read more about the amazing work that dairy farmers do to make your next ice cream social a reality, check out the Dairy Good website.
I hope that you have enjoyed this recipe and take some time to appreciate dairy farmers as well! If you really enjoyed this easy mushroom soup recipe, leave a comment (with a rating) down below!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and cut into large chunks
- ½ cup dry sherry wine
- 3 pounds wild mushrooms, I used shiitakes, creminis, oysters, buttons, white and brown beach
- 1 ½ cup cream, warmed
- 1 lemon, juiced
- To taste salt and pepper
- 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 5 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3 dried bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
- ¼ teaspoon red chile flake
- Stems of mushrooms
- Scraps from mirepoix veggies, parsnip, onion, celery
- 8 quarts water
- 1 rosemary sprig
- 5 thyme sprigs
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- Rosemary sprigs
- Reserved sautéed mushrooms
- Crème fraiche
- Clean mushrooms and trim or remove stems. Cut cremini’s and buttons into thick slices.
- Place stems and other mushroom stock ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with water. Place on stove and allow to steep and simmer for about an hour before straining.
- Gather sachet ingredients and place them in cheesecloth that has been folded over and either tie cheesecloth together to create a bag or secure with butchers twine.
- In a large stock pot, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add parsnip, onion, and celery and saute until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add dry sherry wine to deglaze the pan. Allow the juices to reduce.
- In batches, add mushrooms to the pot. Allow mushrooms to cook down and juices to reduce before adding more mushrooms. Repeat until all mushrooms have been added to the pot.
- Add strained mushroom stock to the pot of mushroom soup and lower heat to low-medium. Add sachet and cook for about 1 hour.
- Remove sachet and blend. Pass blended soup through a strainer. Season with lemon juice and add warmed cream.
- Fry rosemary sprigs in some vegetable oil until bright green. Remove from oil and drain on a paper towel lined plate.
- Garnish finished soup with reserved mushrooms, fried rosemary, and crème fraiche.
If using shiitakes, sear them in a skillet with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper, cook for about 2 minutes before flipping mushrooms to cook on the other side for about 2 minutes. Slice shiitakes. Reserve a few of the shiitakes for garnish.
If using beech mushrooms, be sure to saute some for garnish and season with salt and pepper as well.
Nutrition InformationYield 8 Serving Size 6 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 321 Total Fat 23g Saturated Fat 12g Trans Fat 1g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 59mg Sodium 230mg Carbohydrates 27g Fiber 8g Sugar 9g Protein 7g