Mushroom of the Week

(Porcini) Soup’s On!


Our resident mushroom expert Gary Gilbert is back with some “souper” ideas for easy and delicious warm winter dinners.

Mushroom soups can be made a thousand ways.  Some people like them thicker and more porridge-like.  Some people like them thinner and lighter, more like a bisque. 

If you like a thinner version, you can increase the amount of broth by a half cup or so and slightly decrease the light cream by a quarter cup.  If you do so, be sure to use at least 2 ounces of dried mushrooms or increase the number of fresh ones to be sure their flavor comes through.  

There are many ways to make a thicker soup.  Typically, mushroom soup recipes might have a medium potato added, cooked and blended in.  Some will have a tablespoon of flour added to the onions to cook it five minutes or so before blending together and reheating well.  Bulking them out by simply increasing the number of mushrooms can also make them heartier.  Personally, I have been seeking a lighter, but full-bodied soup flavor so I slightly vary the ingredients each time I make one.

To capture the flavor of fresh mushrooms to their fullest, try to cook them down in a hot skillet while, at the end, increasing the heat and singeing them well.  This is particularly a good technique for white button mushrooms which are a species not to be ignored.  Other mushrooms that work well in soups are Chanterelles.  This is one place dried Chanterelles, which are otherwise tough and leathery, can be used.  Be sure to soak them in hot broth a good hour before adding, cooking, and blending very thoroughly.  Fresh Chanterelles can be used like white button mushrooms, fresh Shitake, or Hen of the Woods.  Cook them down, singe them at the end, and always be sure to add the famous soup ingredient, some nice sherry in the end.  That is a chef’s secret that always rounds out and brightens up the flavor of any soup.  Enjoy!


  •  1 T butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 leek, cleaned well, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 medium potato, peeled, chopped
  • 1 full T fresh thyme, or ½ tsp dried
  • 5 cup - 5-1/2 C good chicken broth
  • 1-1/2 - 2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
  • 1/3 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup light cream
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper 

Sauté onion & leek in butter on med-low heat until translucent or caramelized, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic for last 2 minutes.

Add the potatoes, mushrooms, broth & herbs.  Bring to a boil on medium heat, slightly covered, and cook for 10 minutes.  Add the sherry and cook uncovered another 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, cool, blend very well until very smooth.  Add cream and salt.  Reheat gently at least 5-10 minutes before serving.


Many species of mushrooms can be used for this: 1 cup fresh button mushrooms sautéed till crisp and 1 oz dried Porcini, or Chanterelles or Craterellus or Fairy Rings, etc.  Vary the cream/broth ratios to taste. 

Garnish with crème fraiche, a couple of small cooked mushroom pieces, or some minced chives.