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MUSHROOM SOUP

I have been on a quest to modernize this German mushroom, leek and cheese soup for some time. It's usually made with a laughing cow sort of cheese that remains in the soup as little fatty bits because it does not quite melt. It's often thickened with flour and while I admit that it is good, it is also very heavy. I wanted the richness but I also wanted lots of mushrooms and more healthy and hearty ingredients. Adding the creme fraiche as a topping adds the creaminess and the cold butter yum which is far better than a processed cheese. But because the creme is on top a little goes a long way. Spring is here but I had to scrape the windows on my car this morning and this soup sounds perfect to me right now. 

SERVES 4-6
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks, trimmed, split lengthwise, washed and chopped into fine rings
  • 8 oz chard (about half a bunch)
  • 1 pound of mixed mushrooms (such as cremini, portobello and shiitake) 
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 2 oz prosciutto roughly chopped 
  • 5 cups of home-made or low sodium vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of white wine
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan plus more for topping
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • creme fraiche and finely minced chives for topping

Wash the chard and remove the tough center vein and stem, roll the leaves into a little wrap and finely chop. Prepare the mushrooms: cut portobello mushrooms into cubes, cremini and shiitake mushrooms into fine slices.

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In a heavy stock pot, sauté the shallots together with the ground beef and prosciutto until the meat is cooked through. 

Add the stock and wine. Bring to a gentle simmer and add the leeks. After about 2 minutes add the shiitake mushrooms. After another minute add the chard and portobello mushrooms. Don't worry if it looks like there is not enough broth, the mushrooms will release a lot of liquid. Simmer for about 2 minutes or until the mushrooms and chard are tender. Swirl in the parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and gently stir in the cremini mushrooms. Do not cook the soup anymore, just let the mushrooms absorb the heat, they will be tender in no time.

Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche and a sprinkling of parmesan and fresh chives.

SOURCE: INSPIRED BY TRADITIONAL RECIPE

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