I decided to try her recipe for Many Mushroom Soup, which I had found on Pinterest and pinned to my “Food to Live On” board. I didn’t have high hopes. I mean, this is a woman who clearly loves the flavor of her own feet in her mouth, so how good could this be?
Well, surprise, surprise. The soup – comprised basically of shiitake, portobello and crimini mushrooms sauteed with onions and herbs, stewed in vegetable stock and then pureed – was shockingly rich and creamy for all its lightness. I adore cream of mushroom soup, but jeez, I might as well inject that straight into my butt.
The soup ended up with a mildly grainy texture, sort of like really soft Malt-O-Meal, with tons of earthy, mushroom flavor. Although delicious, it was a bit one-note, and on my next try (and there will be a next try) I am going to cut out some of the veggie stock and replace it with red wine – maybe 1/2 a cup or so. Here’s the whole recipe.
“This soup gets so much depth of flavour from the dried mushrooms and such a creamy texture from being pureed that it’s hard to believe no chicken stock or cream is involved. if you’d like to add a little texture, quickly sauté a few thin slices of the mushrooms in olive oil with some salt and pepper and float them in each bowl.” — Gwyneth Paltrow
Recipe for Gwyneth Paltrow’s Many Mushroom Soup
3 dried shiitake mushrooms
1/2 cup boiling water
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 leeks — white and light green parts only, thoroughly washed and finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Coarse sea salt
2 cups crimini mushrooms, stems removed and caps roughly chopped
1 large portobello mushroom, stem removed and cap roughly chopped
4 cups vegetable stock
Italian parsley for serving
Freshly ground black pepper
Place the shiitakes in a small bowl or teacup with the boiling water and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, being sure to reserve their soaking liquid.
Slice off and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps and set them aside. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, onion, garlic, and thyme, along with two heavy pinches of salt, and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not browned, nine or 10 minutes.
Add the crimini and portobello mushrooms and the reserved shiitake mushrooms. Stir to combine with the leek mixture and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, five to six minutes.
Add the vegetable stock and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid (avoid any grit that might be at the bottom) to the pot and turn up the heat. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to bring it all together.
Carefully puree in a powerful blender. If you want a really refined, smooth texture, you can pass the pureed soup through a fine-mesh strainer.
Serve immediately with a bit of parsley for colour and a healthy grind of black pepper.