If you're craving a bowl of rich mushroom soup, this recipe delivers. No less than a pound of cremini mushrooms are simmered with garlic, shallots, onion and buttery Chardonnay for an aromatic base. Puree the mushrooms with heavy cream for a smooth, velvety finish, then stir in finely chopped roasted onion at the end. A thin slice of Parmigiano-Reggiano to complete each serving.
The soup itself comes together in about 40 minutes, though it will take a little advance planning to prepare the roasted onion (roast for about 1 hour at 400 degrees, then cool before chopping -- you could do this a day or two in advance and refrigerate until needed).
Creamy mushroom and roasted onion soup
Total time: 40 minutes, plus 1 hour roasting time for the onion
Note: Adapted from Gary Daniel of the Cave food and wine bar at the Ventura Wine Co., a retail shop. He recommends serving the soup with a Chardonnay and crusty bread. The roasted onion can be made ahead of time. Roast the onion and allow it to cool, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
2 onions, divided
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt, freshly ground black pepper
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 rib of celery, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallot
1 pound cremini mushrooms, washed and trimmed of any dry ends
1 cup white wine, preferably Chardonnay
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 quart vegetable stock
3/4 cup heavy cream
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for garnish
2 teaspoons minced chives
1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel one of the onions but leave it whole. Rub 1 tablespoon of the oil and a pinch each of the salt and pepper over the onion, then wrap it in foil. Roast the onion until it is softened and lightly caramelized, about 1 hour. Remove and cool.
2. Meanwhile, peel and chop the remaining onion.
3. Heat a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the remaining olive oil and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Stir in the chopped onion, carrot and celery and cook until softened, about 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic, shallots and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Reserve one mushroom to garnish the finished soup.
4. Stir in the wine, making sure to scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Stir in the fresh thyme and bring the contents to a gentle simmer. Cook until the mushrooms soften, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the vegetable stock and continue to simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
5. Remove from the heat and purée the soup with an immersion blender, or in batches in a blender. Return the soup to low heat and stir in the cream. Season with a generous teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper, or to taste. This makes about 8 cups of soup.
6. Chop the roasted onion into pieces no larger than one-quarter inch. Stir the chopped onion into the soup. Check and adjust the seasoning if desired.
7. Slice the reserved mushroom into 8 very thin, lengthwise slices. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls. Garnish each portion with a thin shaving of the Parmigiano-Reggiano, one-fourth teaspoon of the chives and a thin slice of mushroom. Serve immediately.
Each serving: 179 calories; 3 grams protein; 8 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 6 grams saturated fat; 31 mg. cholesterol; 456 mg. sodium.