mushroom soup

June 13, 2010

This recipe is from Anthony Bourdain‘s Les Halles Cookbook. Given the name you can probably guess that there isn’t too much that’s vegan about Anthony Bourdain and his slaughterhouse cookbook. But it is a highly entertaining cookbook given his irreverence, and there are a few gems in there that can easily be vegan-ized. This soup is one of them. Olive oil instead of butter; veggie stock instead of chicken stock; you’re good to go.

I’m going to quote his recipe in full with a few vegan translations. But before I do, one question – why take out the sprig of parsley? I’m a big fan of leaving it in there, along with other herbs like thyme (my favourite – in fact I think it almost makes the soup). Leaving them in there and just blending the whole schmozle together gives you better taste and you get the full medicinal benefit of those mini super-powered greens.

“This is ridiculously easy soup to make. It’s tasty and durable, and it gets even better overnight.

6 tbsps olive oil
1 small onion, thinly sliced
12 ounces mushrooms
4 cups veggie stock
1 sprig of flat parsley
salt and pepper
2 ounces high-quality sherry (don’t use the cheap grocery-store variety; it’s salty and unappetizing and will ruin your soup)

In the medium saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and add the onion. Cook until the onion is soft and translucent, then add the mushrooms. Let the mixture sweat for about 8 minutes, taking care that the onion doesn’t take on any brown colour. Stir in the veggie broth and the parsley and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and simmer for about an hour.

After an hour, remove the parsley and discard. Let the soup cool for a few minutes, then transfer to the blender and carefully blend at high speed until smooth. Do I have to remind you to do this in stages, with the blender’s lid firmly held down, and with the weight of your body keeping that thing from flying off and allowing boiling hot mushroom puree to erupt all over your kitchen?

When blended, return the mix to the pot, season with salt and pepper, and bring up to a simmer again. Add the sherry, mix well, and serve immediately.

And if you really want to ratchet your soup into pretentious (and delicious), drizzle a few tiny drops of truffle oil over the surface just before serving. Why the hell not? Everybody else is doing it.”