Wild Mushroom Consommé

Wild Mushroom Consomme

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?

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

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. 🙂

Ingredients

  • 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

Instruction

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.

© 2012 REMCooks.com
© 2012 REMCooks.com

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!

Wild Mushroom Consomme

Notes: This recipe will serve 6. If you want additional color, add chopped chives at the end just prior to serving.

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14 thoughts on “Wild Mushroom Consommé”

  1. Crystal clear and clarity filled broth. I can see why your dinner guests form those years back would revel in the memory of your soup, it was obviously delicious, (along with the rib roast, the duchess potatoes, berry sorbet and canapé’s etc.) whenever Autumn hits, it’s such a pleasure to welcome those varieties of wood mushrooms and I think we call the orange ones Pine mushrooms here (but then again, it might just be a different variety altogether.)

    Either way, it’s a delicious looking broth and having made a few in culinary class, I can appreciate your work behind this beautiful dish.

    1. Thanks, Alice, for the very sweet and nice compliment. I love a good consommé perhaps more than any other soup. There is a trick to getting them so crystal clear. They look so light (and are) yet so full of flavor. The perfect first course for a meal. 🙂

        1. Alice, I doubt there is much I can do that you cannot. I remember culinary school even if it is a distant memory. 😮 I’m just glad that it gave me a great appreciation for food that never left me. 😉 I’m sure you will do things I have never imagined.

  2. You know, Richard, when I read the title of this post in my reader, I immediately thought of serving it for a holiday meal. Lo & behold! That was pretty much the post’s first statement. The opening photo confirms it. This is one beautiful bowl of consommé and would be very well-received by many a dinner guest.
    The mushroom selection available in our markets is vastly improved over a few years ago. There really is no need to go foraging unless one is absolutely sure of what one’s doing. I cannot see a day when that would be true of me. 🙂

    1. Anon, if you want to get truly technical from a classical sense, consommé is actually a high quality de-fatted stock to which you add egg whites, mirepoix, lean ground meat, and seasonings. The ground meat and egg whites will rise to the surface to form a “raft.” This egg white/meat raft then serves to clarify the stock. In the late 1980s with the advent of modernist cuisine, egg whites and meat were omitted. Instead, under modernist cuisine, consommé is made by taking a very fine stock and adding gelatin to it. This mixture is then frozen and thawed at a temperature just above the freezing point of water. This produces an unbelievably clear “consommé.” If you would look at the manner in which I make stock, you will find that I clarify my stocks. Thus the stocks used in this recipe would qualify as “consommé.” Thank you for your comment and allowing me to “clarify” the matter. 😉

  3. Would I be completely remiss by purchasing the the beef and chicken stocks? Also, what type of wine would you serve with this? Thank you for your thoughts, I can’t wait to try it, Nancy

    1. Purchasing stock is a personal choice. We prefer to make our own which allow you to control the flavor and the salt. For this soup I would serve a creamy lightly naked Chardonnay or even a Pinot Noir since the soup turns out dark and mushroomy a Pinot Noir. Let us know how you liked it.

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