Woodland Mushroom Soup with Sauteed Apples
Makes 4 quarts
As the weather changes, I naturally think about making big pots of soup. Every Thanksgiving I try and come up with a new recipe that I can serve and this year I'm serving this mushroom soup. Both Rick and I agree that serving soup at Thanksgiving slows down the meal, (which after spending several days preparing it means that it's not over in 20 minutes) and allows everyone to sit down together and enjoy each other's company. The soup is very seasonal and the apples and hard apple cider flavors really compliment the mushrooms. We demoed this soup at the Green City Market just before Thanksgiving and it was a big hit. I hope you and your family enjoy it as well.
1 ounce dried porcini mushroom
5 tablespoons olive oil, divided use
1 very large (12 ounces) white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely diced
12 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded, thinly sliced
12 ounces oyster mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
6 cups low sodium chicken broth (we like the Imagine brand)
2 cups hard cider (we like J.K.'s Scrumpy Farmhouse Original Brand)
1 large (8 ounce) Yukon Gold potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tablespoons pure ancho chile powder
For the Garnish:
1 1/2 pounds (firm, slightly tart) apples, peeled, cored and cut into a small dice
About 1 1/2 cups Mexican crema or sour cream
Scoop the dried porcini mushrooms into a heat resistant bowl. Pour in 3 1/2 cups very hot water to rehydrate. Once the mushrooms are soft, usually about 20 minutes, strain the liquid into a separate bowl, and finely chop the mushrooms.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a very large (12-inch) nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once hot, scoop in the onions and cook until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook an additional minute until aromatic. Scrape the mixture into a 6 quart dutch oven or soup pot.
Return the skillet to heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Mix the shiitake and oyster mushrooms together. Once the oil is hot, add half the mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms begin to brown, about 6 minutes. Scrape into the soup pot. Add another 1 1/2 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute the second batch of mushrooms. Reserve 1 cup of the sauteed mushrooms, and add the rest to the soup pot.
Meanwhile, you can start adding the rest of the ingredients into the soup pot, beginning with the chicken broth. Next, add the hard cider, along with the strained porcini mushroom liquid, and 1/2 of the chopped porcinis. (Reserve the remaining porcini mushrooms, they'll be added into the soup at the end.) Finally, add the diced potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, Worcestershire sauce, and the ancho powder. Stir to combine, then bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Lower the heat and continue simmering for 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt, usually about 2 teaspoons, depending on the saltiness of your broth.
While the soup is simmering, add the final tablespoon of the olive oil to the skillet set over high heat. Once the oil is hot, scoop in the diced apples. Saute about 3 minutes until the apple pieces have started to soften. Scrape the apples into a serving bowl and set aside for garnishing the soup.
Discard the bay leaf. Working in small batches, puree the soup in a heavy duty blender until smooth. Return the pureed soup to the pot and stir in the reserved porcini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms. Bring the soup back up to temperature. You're now ready to serve. Ladle the soup into warm bowls, garnish with a dollop of crema and the sauteed apples.
You can prepare both the soup and the sauteed apples several days in advance. Store them in separate airtight containers in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve, bring the sauteed apples to room temperature and gently reheat the soup. Garnish each serving with the sauteed apples and crema.