This soup is from a recipe in the October 1998 issue of Gourmet. A reader had requested the recipe after having David Welch’s creation at the Keystone Ranch in Keystone, Colorado.

1 1/4 pounds fresh oyster mushrooms
1/2 medium onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon porcini powder (I didn’t have this, so I whirled some dried porcini around in my spice blender — a coffee blender appropriated for the purpose — and used that, and saved some $ hee hee)
1 teaspoon packed brown sugar
1/3 cup Sercial Madeira
5 cups mushroom stock
1 tablespoon Sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
1 cup heavy cream

Garnish: finely chopped fresh chives

Chop oyster mushrooms and finely chop onion. Mince garlic. In a 4- to 5-quart heavy kettle heat oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic with porcini powder and brown sugar, stirring, until liquid mushrooms give off is completely evaporated and mushrooms begin to brown.

Add Madeira and boil, stirring occasionally, until liquid is evaporated. Stir in stock and cook for 20-30 minutes or until mushrooms are completely tender. Add vinegar, thyme and cream. Puree with immersion blender, or transfer to blender and puree in batches.

Cook’s Notes:

  • The porcini powder is POWERFUL stuff, the aroma full of mushroomy goodness. Careful you don’t sneeze:D.
  • To make this recipe vegan and dairy-free, substitute 1/2-3/4 cup cooked rice for the cream. (another lesson from Julia) When you puree the soup the rice purees along and thickens the soup just like cream would.
  • I’ve been on a search forever for a mushroom soup recipe that my little ones would love more than they do the canned stuff. I think perhaps they’ve idealized it so much in their young minds — since they rarely get to have it — that no matter which recipe I try, the canned stuff is always “better”.