Classic Meadow Mushroom Soup
with Wild Mushroom and
Herbed Ricotta Tartines
Photo by Sara Remington courtesy of Viking Studio, "The Wild Table"
For a mushroom lover, the cornerstone of all recipes is a luscious mushroom soup. We regard this combo as the ultimate soup and sandwich for all the seasons of the year. Just change the type of mushroom used with the season. A bowl of this soup with a mushroom-laden tartine tucked alongside is a meal to cure all that's amiss. Our recipe has double layers of mushroom flavor, Its foundation is a rich mushroom stock. Yes, it's easier to use chicken stock and yes, the soup will be mighty tasty. It just won't be the ultimate, rich mushroom soup if you don't make the mushroom stock.
The second tier of the flavor comes from the mushrooms themselves, whether they be wild meadow mushrooms, their cultivated cousins – cremini, portabellos, button mushrooms – or other wild fungi. After a jackpot of a hunt in any season, this recipe can become luxurious chanterelle soup, porcini soup, or even the wildly extravagant morel soup.
Though not intentionally so, this recipe is vegetarian and can be vegan if you omit the touch of cream and butter.
For the soup:
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, rinsed
4 cups Traditional Mushroom Stock plus up to one more cup to thin soup if needed
8 tablespoons, (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 large clove garlic, finely minced
1 medium onion, cut into ½-inch dice
2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1½ pounds meadow mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/8-inch slices
2 tablespoons Madeira
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup heavy cream
½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Place the porcini mushrooms in a medium saucepan with 2 cups mushroom stock. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat and let sit for 30 minutes.
In a large stockpot over medium heat add 6 tablespoons butter. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the onion, garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper, stirring to coat evenly with the butter. Cook until softened. Stir in the Mediera. Cook for 3 more minutes, then stir in the porcini mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Add the remaining 2 cups mushroom stock and the thyme. Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Add the remaining ½ teaspoons salt and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and, starting on a low speed and increasing in increments, puree until very smooth. Place the soup in a saucepan and return to the stove over medium heat. Add the cream. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper as needed. Stir in additional stock if the soup needs thinning.
Divide the soup amongst 6 bowls and serve with the tartines.
For The Tartines:
1 cup ricotta
2 tablespoons finely minced garlic, plus 1 whole garlic clove, peeled
1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh chives
2 teaspoons finely chopped flat-leafed parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
½ teaspoon finely chopped tarragon
½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon plus a pinch freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
½ pound wild mushrooms, cleaned and cut into 1/8-inch slices
6 thick slices country bread or ciabatta (¾ inch)
Extra virgin olive oil
Fleur de sel
Place the ricotta in a small bowl. Add 1 tablespoon of the garlic, thyme, chives, 2 teaspoons of the parsley, tarragon, lemon zest, ½ teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon of the pepper, and lemon juice. Mix well. Set aside.
Heat the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted and bubbling, add the mushrooms, tossing to coat evenly with the butter. Add the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and the pinch of pepper. Cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid. Continue cooking until the liquid has evaporated and the mushrooms are starting to caramelize. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon garlic during the last few minutes of cooking. Remove from the heat and hold in a warm place.
Toast the bread under a broiler or in a toaster. While the slices are still warm, rub the toasted surface with the whole garlic clove.
Spread the toasts with about 2 tablespoonfuls of the ricotta mixture. Divide the warm mushrooms amongst the toasts. Drizzle with the oil, then finish with a sprinkling of fleur de sell and the remaining 2 tablespoons of parsley.
Tips and Techniques
The ricotta mixture can be made up to a day ahead and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving. Have the soup warm and the ricotta mixture ready before toasting the bread slices. They are best just out of the oven or toaster.
Substitutions and Variations
For the soup, you can substitute the "tamed" button, cremini, or portobello mushrooms for the wild meadow mushrooms. Almost any wild mushroom can be substituted in the is recipe. Use all of one kind, or mix them half wild and half cultivated.
You can use chicken broth, beef broth, or canned mushroom broth for the homemade broth in the recipe.
For the tartines, any wild mushroom will work beautifully.