When my husband Joel went through RCIA a number of years ago, the class decided to host a soup social. Potluck style, several members of the RCIA class volunteered to bring soup, including Joel and me. We jumped at the chance, actually. We both like to cook; we just cook very differently. But soups? They are one thing we do together pretty well in the kitchen and are always on rotation in our weekly menus.
We quickly settled on preparing our infamous creamy roasted mushroom soup for the soup social. It’s been a staple in our repertoire since our relationship’s beginning, and we often prepare it for guests in our home. One friend once described this soup as “transcendent.” After looking up the definition of that word, I recognized transcendent was quite the compliment. We are always excited to share the soup with others. So excited, actually, that on the day of the soup social, we poured as much soup as would possibly fit from the stockpot on the stove and into the crock-pot to take to the church. We left the house ten minutes earlier than usual because we had to weave our way through town at 20 MPH to keep it from spilling.
We showed up at church with the soup in one hand and our shiny stainless steel ladle in the other. We even made a Martha Stewart-inspired placard with “Creamy Roasted Mushroom Soup” written in fancy letters to identify the dish. As usual, it was a hit with the crowd. While chatting with our friends and fielding compliments on the soup, just over the din of the background noise from the direction of our crock-pot, we heard one hungry patron say out loud to nobody in particular, “Thank goodness someone remembered the vegetarians!” Joel and I looked at each other and didn’t say a word but communicated by eye contact that we were not going to spoil the vegetarian’s evening with the truth about the soup.
The truth? Those two heaping ladles of soup the vegetarian thoroughly enjoyed contained beef broth. BEEF broth. Now in the vegetarian’s stomach. The moral of the story? Well, we don’t know. We may very well have to answer one day for not coming clean to that vegetarian about the beef broth. But if you choose to make this soup on a meatless Friday or Ash Wednesday, please know that vegetable broth is a perfectly acceptable substitution.
Creamy Roasted Mushroom Soup
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
1-1/2 pounds slices portobello or baby bella mushrooms
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 14-ounce cans beef broth
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira (or Marsala)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup whipping cream
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large roasting pan with foil. Add mushrooms and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Cover and bake mushrooms 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until mushrooms are tender and still moist, about 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly. Puree half of mushrooms with 1 can beef broth in blender until smooth. Set mushroom puree aside. Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until onion is tender, about 8 minutes. Add Madeira and simmer until almost all of liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add flour; stir 2 minutes. Add remaining beef and chicken broth, cream, thyme, and rosemary. Stir in remaining cooked mushroom pieces and mushroom puree. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly, then cover and refrigerate. Bring to simmer before serving, thinning with additional broth if necessary.)
Copyright 2015 Lisa Schmidt.
Photo copyright 2015 Lisa Schmidt. All rights reserved.