Tuesday, June 15, 2010

French Onion and Wild Mushroom Soup

One weekend when I was up in Vancouver, WA, I had some extra time so my mom and I visited the local Cash and Carry.  It's a store mainly geared towards restaurant owners.  I love wandering the aisles, recognizing familiar items such as those red and white checkered paper baskets that the tortilla chips are served in at Baja Fresh, or those tiny plastic containers that hold the sour cream and salsa that sit along-side my burrito from the Beanery.

They also sell items in smaller quantities for regular people as well, and at great prices too!  I got some great deals on many of my favorite Asian food items, such as a big jar of Mae Ploy red curry paste and a huge stack of nori sheets.  I also bought a pack of tiny 4-inch corn tortillas (only one WW point for three!) which will be perfect for fajitas.

I also bought this....

The biggest jar of dried shiitakes EVER!  AND they're from Oregon!

So, I'm officially soliciting your favorite ways to use dried mushrooms, since I now have a ton.

To start off, I chose to make a soup.  I picked a Rachael Ray recipe that I had cut out of a magazine awhile back: French Onion and Wild Mushroom Soup.  It came together pretty fast and the mushrooms really add their own earthy flavor to the soup.  You definitely want to use good-quality stock or broth for this recipe, since it doesn't cook very long.  We had just made chicken stock a couple of days ago so this was the perfect use for it.

One of my favorite things about this soup is the crusty, cheese-covered bread that goes with it.  I let my slices of baguette float on top of the soup, just long enough to let the bottom soak up some of the broth, then I swoop in and take my bite while the top is still crunchy.  

French Onion and Wild Mushroom Soup
adapted from Rachael Ray Every Day Magazine, March 2009
Serves 4-6

4 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 large onions, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 cups broth (chicken, beef, vegetable)
1 ounce dried mushrooms (I used about half shiitake, half mixed wild mushrooms)
1/4 to 1/3 cup dry sherry
1 baguette or other crusty bread, sliced
1 large clove garlic, halved
1 cup shredded gruyere or swiss cheese

In a dutch oven or heavy soup pot, melt the butter with the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, bay leaf and thyme, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until the onions are softened and browned.  Turn down the heat a bit if it starts to burn.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring the broth, mushrooms, and 2 cups of water to a boil.  Lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to remove and slice the mushrooms as necessary to make small enough pieces for soup (a lot of my mushrooms were already small enough).

Preheat the oven to broil.

Add the sherry to the onions to deglaze the pan, scrapping up any browned bits.  Add the mushrooms and hot broth to the pot and stir to combine.

Toast the bread under the broiler, then lightly rub with the cut side of a garlic clove.  Top with some cheese and return to the broiler to let the cheese melt.

To serve, ladle to soup into bowls and serve with the toasts.


  1. I am a huge fan of wild mushroom risotto. The trick is to use a good mushroom stock, you can get one at the co-op and use in addition to the juice from re-hydrating the dried mushrooms.

  2. Hey Robyn, thanks for outing yourself :) Fair is fair, I have been following you too! Andy and I love food (Andy is our cook though). I will have to mention this recipe to him, he LOVES french onion soup. Also have to admit that I have taken some of your tips for cooking tofu, it's my most recent love.


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