This is a beautiful starter for a Holiday meal or simply a side with a nice sandwich at lunch. It has a clean, deep flavor with a little nuttiness from the Madeira wine. If you like mushrooms, like me, you will love this soup.
I absolutely adore mushrooms. They are one of my very favorite foods. I fix them in a variety of ways. I make soups with them, make stuffing (i.e. duxelle) with them, sauté them, put them in sandwiches, salads, omelets, and stuff them with a variety of things from crab to veggies. They are simply delectable and always put a smile on my face. Aren’t these beautiful?
For those of you curious and unfamiliar with wild mushrooms, beginning with the bowl and moving clockwise there are the following mushrooms: dried morels in the bowl, shiitake, lobster, hen of the woods, and chanterelle.
I can recognize these varieties in the market but would love to know enough about them to pick them safely in the wild. Even if I had the knowledge I’m not sure I would pick them in the wild because I’m just downright chicken. With my luck, I would either poison myself or go on a Magical Mystery Tour and never come back. 😮 As such, I simply purchase them from the specialty markets that sell them fresh and pay dearly for their knowledge. Oh well, it’s the price you gladly pay for food safety, especially when you are dealing with foods that can kill you if you guess wrong.
Now, 10 years or so ago I planned a black tie New Year’s Eve Party for 6 couples when I first made this soup. We had dinner at 8:00 p.m., played a murder mystery after dinner and brought in the New Year at midnight. It was a wonderful night and I pulled out all stops for the meal. There truly was no better meal served anywhere in DFW that night. Oddly enough, the thing that stood out in most of the guests minds and what they talked about years later was this soup, Wild Mushroom Consommé. Now, mind you that dinner was a full 7 bone Prime Rib Roast cooked a perfect medium rare with a horseradish breadcrumb crust and red wine sauce from the drippings, served with Yorkshire pudding, spinach soufflé and duchess potatoes beautifully piped around the plate where the slice of rib roast would be placed. We had canapés for hor d’ oeuvres and a delightfully decadent, fresh berry, homemade ice cream parfait for dessert. For people to talk about the soup years later was surprising.
I pull out this soup recipe and dust it off periodically during the Holidays. I don’t do many extravagant dinner parties anymore and Holidays always seem a fitting time to make this soup. This Thanksgiving it seemed a perfect fit with the meal. So, out it came. We hope you try it because we know you will enjoy it. It is incredibly delicious. 🙂
- 1-1/2 lb fresh white mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1/4 lb chanterelle mushrooms, chopped for garnish
- 1/2 lb hen of the woods mushrooms, for garnish
- 1-1/2 cup dried morels, roughly 1-1/2 oz
- 2 cups beef stock (recipe found here)
- 3 cups chicken stock (recipe found here)
- 1+ tsp salt, to taste
- freshly ground white pepper, to taste
- 1/3 cup Madeira wine
Add the beef stock and chicken stock to a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and add the white mushrooms and dried morels. Also, the butt ends of the chanterelles and hen of the woods that you are not going to use for garnish should also be thrown in the pot along with any stems you have saved from prior dishes. I always stem mushrooms and use the caps for most preparations. I also like shiitake mushrooms and their stems are woody and inedible so they must be stemmed for any preparation where the mushroom, itself, will be eaten. I freeze the stems for use in various soups and stocks that I want to intensify the mushroom flavor, such as this consommé.
Reduce heat and allow to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes or so to extract the flavor from the dried morels and mushrooms. Season with salt and white pepper to taste. Strain liquid through a fine sieve lined with muslin cloth, discard mushrooms and set aide until ready to serve. This will make a very clear broth.
When ready to serve, bring the broth back to a boil, add the chopped chanterelles and hen of the woods to the sauce, remove from the heat and add 1/3 cup Bual Madeira Wine. The residual heat of the consommé will cook the mushrooms. Serve in shallow soup bowls and enjoy!
Notes: This recipe will serve 6. If you want additional color, add chopped chives at the end just prior to serving.