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Friday, August 01, 2014

Recipe: Mushroom Bisque

Friday, August 01, 2014 By

Not my photo. Ganked it from the Interwebs.

AUGUSTA, GA - I really can't believe that I haven't shared this recipe before. It's a standard in our house from September to April, and Emerson has requested it time and time again.

It can be as light as you want it with a couple of standard ingredient substitutions - milk for cream, olive oil for butter - or as hearty as you want it with the addition of starches like potatoes and brown rice.

Also, this soup is fricking delicious.

Mushroom Bisque

... Okay, listen, I heard a certain portion of you just crinkle your noses and say, "Mushrooms?! Yeech!" But I do not have time for your dramatics. I have a blog post to write. So feel free to substitute whatever you like.* Get crazy. But not so crazy that you actually eat a mushroom.

So can we get back to the recipe? As I was saying...

Mushroom Bisque
  • One mild onion, diced
  • Four cups of thickly sliced mushrooms - it doesn't really matter what kind, since they're going to cook down so much. Plain white mushrooms are fine. We like baby bellas, but I also did a combination of half baby bellas and half Publix "gourmet mushroom" mixture, which included oyster, porcini, and shitaki mushrooms, and that was wonderful.
  • 4-6 cups of chicken broth - frankly, I just use powdered chicken consomme, preferably the kosher brand Osem. Knorr's Caldo de Pollo will do, but only if you omit ALL other salt.
  • 1-2 pints of heavy cream (I usually just buy a liter)
  • 1 cup of chopped spinach or kale leaves (optional)
  • 1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves, or 2 tsp of dried - listen, fresh herbs are really worth it in this.
  • 2 tbsp of fresh parsley leaves, or 2 tsp of dried  - listen, fresh herbs are really worth it in this.
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • Butter
Over medium heat, cook the onions in butter until translucent. Then add the mushrooms and garlic, and cook until their moisture releases and reduces. Alternately, you can throw them all in together, but I find that doesn't work quite as well. 

ALSO not my photo. But basically what it looks like at this stage.

Once the moisture from the mushrooms mostly evaporates, add in the chicken broth, thyme and parsley, then the heavy cream. Stir well, raise heat to medium-high and bring to just boiling, then reduce heat to medium and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  

Taste the broth. If it doesn't taste like the most wonderful, creamy, umami, herbaceous deliciousness EVAH, you may need to adjust your broth. Too salty? Add in extra heavy cream, about a 1/4 cup at a time. Too milky, or flavorless? I have, in all seriousness, just put consomme powder right into the broth by heaping teaspoons, stirring and testing after each, to boost the flavor.

Once the desired flavor profile is reached, remove half of the soup from the pot, blend it until smooth in a food processor or blender, then pour it back into the pot and stir. You may need to do this in batches. Heat through to just boiling again, and it's ready to serve. Scoop into bowls with a rustic salad and thick crusty bread on the side, and top with chopped greens. Crack a generous amount of black pepper over the top.


  • Skip the blending. It's not necessary, but then it's not really a "bisque." Not that I care. I stopped blending it about the third time I made it. :-)
  • Reduce fat and calories by using fat free half-and-half. 
  • Use leeks instead of onions.
  • * Instead of mushrooms, substitute potatoes, celery, asparagus, onions, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, or even cabbage.
  • Make it even heartier by increasing the liquid and adding in 2-3 cups of brown or white rice. Or dice potatoes and throw them in the pot when the onions go in. Just cook it all together, no big deal.
  • Instead of bread on the side, serve it in a bread bowl.
  • Skip the creamy base and just do a broth base, using a slightly greater volume of vegetables and herbs, though. 


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