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Dried and Fresh Mushroom Soup

Serves: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • ½ ounce (½ cup) dried cèpes (porcini)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 to 6 large mushrooms, cleaned
  • 1½ teaspoons olive oil
  • ¾ cup cubed (½-inch) onion
  • 1 small leek, trimmed (leaving some green), split, washed, and thinly sliced (1 cup)
  • 1 medium-to-large potato (about 6 ounces), peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2½ cups water


Procedures:

Dried mushrooms are responsible for the intensity of flavor in this soup, but fresh mushrooms—primarily stem pieces—help create the base for it, and their caps are used as a garnish. The soup can be enriched with cream at the end, and it can be served cold as well as hot. Cèpes are called porcini in Italy and King Boletes in the U.S.

Soak the dried cèpes in the milk for at least 1 hour. Lift out the mushrooms, and strain the milk, and reserve, leaving the sandy residue behind.

Cut enough of the fresh mushroom caps into matchsticks to measure ¾ cup. Reserve for garnish. Coarsely chop the remaining mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. When it is hot, add the onion and leek and sauté for 2 minutes over low heat. Add the cèpes, potato, salt, chopped fresh mushrooms, and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 25 minutes.

Puree the soup in the saucepan using a hand blender or puree it in a food processor and return it to the pan. Add the julienned mushroom caps and bring to a boil. Stir in the reserved milk and bring to a boil. Serve immediately.

by Jacques Pépin

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