Serving
(click to enlarge)

Mushroom Soup
Spain
  -   (Sopa de Setas)
Serves:
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
8 soup  
***
1-1/4 hr  
Yes

An interestingly flavored soup showing a Medieval ancestry and Moorish influence. It can be made vegetarian as easily as not. While an elegant soup course, as with most smooth soups, it is not well suited to being a feature dish. Having little use for elegant soup courses, I found it easy to make it more robust (see Note-6) and it will serve more people this way. It was quite successful at a recent party.



12
8
3
1/4
1/4
2
1/4
7
1/2
4
1
1/3
------
1-1/4
oz
oz
cl
oz
c

c
c
c
oz
t
t
---
#
Mushrooms (1)
Onion
Garlic
Porcini (2)
Parsley, flat
Thyme sprig
Olive Oil ExtV
Stock (3)
Sherry, Fino
Almond Butter (4)  
Salt
Pepper
-- Option
Potatoes (5)
Prep   -   (30 min)
  1. Chop MUSHROOMS small,
  2. Chop ONION fine. Slice GARLIC thin. Mix.
  3. Cover the PORCINI with boiling water and set aside until well softened. Chop small and return to the liquid.
  4. Chop PARSLEY small.
  5. If using, peel POTATOES and dice about 1/2 inch or even smaller. Put in a pan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer until potatoes are just done through. Drain and set aside.
Run   -   (45 min)
  1. In a pan large enough for the recipe, heat Olive Oil and fry Onion mix, stirring over moderate heat until very lightly golden.
  2. Stir in fresh Mushrooms and fry stirring over moderate heat until liquid exuded by Mushrooms has evaporated (they will start sticking to the pan at this point).
  3. Stir in , Porcini (including liquid) and Sherry. Bring to a boil, then simmer slowly for 5 minutes. Let cool a little.
  4. Run Mushroom mix in a food processor until quite smooth. Return to the pan.
  5. Stir in Stock, a little at a time to start to avoid lumps, then all of it. Stir in Thyme. Bring to a simmer for about 20 minutes.
  6. A little at a time, stir some hot soup into Almond Butter until it is smooth and quite liquid (about as much soup as there is Almond Butter). Stir into the soup. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  7. Bring to a simmer, carefully because it can easily boil over at this point. Simmer about 5 minutes or so - or, if using, stir in cooked Potatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes. Adjust liquid as needed.
  8. Fish out the Thyme Sprigs and stir in Parsley. Give it another minute simmering and then serve hot.
NOTES:
  1. Mushrooms:   It is best to use several different mushrooms if possible, preferably ones with distinct mushroom flavor. Two or three fresh shiitakes can help, but not too many - their flavor is strong and very distinctive. For details see our Fungus page.
  2. Porcini:   1/4 ounce is about 2 T crushed small - but good ones are too tough to crush, so you'll probably have to "guesstimate" it. These are Dried Mushrooms, available at Italian markets and often regular supermarkets (at very high prices), but there is no real substitute. They are more economically bought on-line. They store well, so you can buy an economical quantity.
  3. Stock:   The pattern recipe calls for "chicken stock or water". Water sounds a bit weak, but I may want to serve this as a vegetarian dish at a buffet party, so I used our Vegetable Stock, which works well.
  4. Almonds;   The pattern recipe calls for blanched almonds lightly roasted and ground fine - but modern home equipment is not capable of grinding oily nuts fine enough, and the dish will turn out very unpleasantly gritty. A Mexican Metate y Mano or Indian Sil and Batta would work, but few North American homes have those. Smooth Almond Butter is the way to go - Trader Joe's has it in salted and unsalted (I used unsalted).
  5. Potatoes:   White Rose or similar all purpose potatoes work well here. For details see our Potatoes page.
  6. Variation:   Needing a more robust soup, I added potatoes cut into dice. This, of course, blows it out of the Medieval era because they didn't have potatoes in Europe or Africa then, but I find they greatly improve the usefulness of this soup.
  7. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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