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¼ cup dried porcini mushrooms
4 tbsp. butter
4 tbsp. good olive oil
1 large onion
salt and pepper
1 lb. regular domestic mushrooms, cleaned, long stems removed
½ lb. mixed wild mushrooms (morel, shiitake, chanterelle- whatever’s available), cleaned and trimmed*
3 large cloves garlic, pressed
1 cup dry full-bodied red wine
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. dried sage
pinch ground nutmeg
3 16-oz. cans beef stock/broth***
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped, for garnish
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped, for garnish
¼ cup shaved Parmesan cheese, as garnish, if desired
***Use a cup or so of the beef stock to steep the dried porcinis: Heat the stock to a boil in a small sauce pot. Turn off flame and add the dried mushrooms, stirring around a bit. Let mushrooms steep, stirring occasionally, until the rest of the broth is added to the soup. Then pour the broth off the dried mushrooms, leaving any grit behind, and add it to the rest of the soup when needed.
Heat the butter and olive oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Add the chopped onions and a spoonful of salt. Stir and cook the onions until they are beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook them until their liquid has evaporated and they are nicely browned on all sides. Add the pressed garlic to the pot and stir and cook until it is just cooked and not brown. Add the red wine and let reduce by about half. Add the dried herbs, about 2 teaspoons of pepper, the porcini stock, and the beef stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Simmer slowly for approximately half an hour or until all the ingredients are completely soft.
Puree the soup with a blender until completely smooth, then return to soup pot and add the cream. For a thinner soup, add a little extra broth or milk. Correct for salt and pepper. Serve hot with suggested garnishes. This recipe makes about 10 servings (2-2 ½ quarts).
*The price for wild mushrooms fluctuates throughout the year. They are at their best quality and price in the fall. The varieties you choose will affect the finished soup a little, but it will still be hearty and rich! Choose your favorites!