I have been given the honor and privilege to cater lunches for Willowmere Weekends, conducted by my lovely friend Jen on her gorgeous farm. Each month, Jen hosts a weekend retreat designed to help you grow, learn, evolve, and create. This past Sunday, I was so fortunate to attend one of Jen’s retreats called “Get Your Joy On”. And man, did I ever get my joy on! Joy like not having to share a bottle of Veuve Cliquot champagne. And then I got to serve lunch to some fantastic women! And no kids around ALL day. Can’t beat that kind of Sunday.
So, here is le menu from Sunday:
Starter: Cream of Many Mushrooms Soup with Sage Croutons
Main Course: Winter Salad with a Goat’s Cheese Mousse, along with homemade french baguette
Dessert: Clementine Almond Cake with Chocolate Ganache Frosting
It was the perfect meal for a cold, rainy day. Very nourishing for the body and soul too. Here is the recipe for the Cream of Mushroom Soup. It is all mushrooms, with a splash of liquid to make it an actual soup. Umm, so you gotta like mushrooms to like this recipe.
Cream of Many Mushrooms Soup
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe
- 1/2 oz dried mushrooms, any variety will do
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 2 springs of rosemary (thyme will work here too)
- 4 springs of sage
- 1 onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb. white button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lb. shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced (I think cremini mushrooms will work here too)
- 1/2 cup dry Marsala wine
- 6 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock, beef stock, or water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tbsp butter
- Soak the dried mushrooms in 1 cup hot water and leave soaking until needed.
- Heat 1/2 cup olive oil over medium heat in a large pot. Yes, it sounds like a lot of olive oil, and you’re welcome to cut back some if you’d like, but it’s a lot of mushrooms that need to be sauteed! Let those mushrooms have some olive oil love!
- Tie together the rosemary and thyme sprigs with some kitchen twine, and drop into the hot oil. Let it bubble in the oil for a minute.
- Add the onion and garlic to the pot, along with a large pinch of salt. Cook until the onions are softened, about 5-6 minutes.
- Turn up the heat to medium high and plop in your sliced mushrooms. Saute for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms have released their water and have a nice brown color to them.
- Once your mushrooms are nice and browned, deglaze the pan with the Marsala wine. Marsala wine is found in any grocery store, usually located around the sherry or port in the wine section. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t have Marsala wine, but if definitely adds the element of depth to your soup.
- When most of the Marsala has evaporated, add the stock or water, the re-hydrated mushrooms, and the mushroom tea they were soaking in. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the heavy cream and butter. Once again, I think the heavy cream is crucial to give the soup it’s velvety, satisfying texture and taste, but you’re welcome to add less heavy cream or none at all. (Don’t be a chicken, go for the cream) Remove the bundle of herbs.
- Put the soup into a blender and blend until creamy. This will have to be done in a couple batches since it’s a big old amount of soup. Or, you can use an immersion blender and skip the blender.
- Serve the soup warm with a dollop of sour cream, some browned sausage, and/or these yummy croutons.
- Trim the crusts from 3-4 slices of white or sourdough bread. Cut the bread into cubes. Heat a saute pan over medium heat along with 1-2 tbsp olive oil or butter. Add the cubed bread to the pan along with 1/2 tsp dried sage and a pinch of salt and pepper. Saute until the bread has nicely browned.
Make a batch of this hearty soup this week and let me know what you think. It’s the best I’ve come across, and I hope you agree. Oh, and it only gets better the next day, so it’s the perfect entertaining meal since you can make it a couple days in advance. More retreat recipes tomorrow! xox