At the Saigon (super)markets that I frequent, there are a great range of mushrooms. Wonderful bold shiitake mushrooms, both large and small. Most of the other mushrooms though are quite subtle in flavour, befitting their place in Vietnamese cuisine. Occasionally button mushrooms are available, and very rarely, portobello mushrooms. I make the most of it when I can get these varieties, which was the case on the day I created this cream of mushroom soup, my preferred way to make the most of these mushrooms’ unique characteristics. A drizzle of truffle infused olive oil tops off this combination beautifully.
A possible modification to this dish, which I developed some experience with in a another mushroom dish (Farfalle pasta with wild mushroom cream sauce), is to add dried porcini mushrooms. These things aren’t cheap, at least in the food shops I have regular access too. Also, they will require some more time for preparation (removing grit), unless you want to risk ruining your soup. Having said that, I will do it next time I prepare a mushroom soup. Porcini mushrooms, including the water you soak them in, have an amazing earthy flavour that would certainly enhance this dish. But be warned, the grit is a challenge. As I recommended in the wild mushroom cream sauce recipe, add the dried mushrooms to the stock and then strain through a very fine strainer or cloth. You will get 95% of the amazing porcini flavour, and save a lot of time.
A great post on the topic of dried mushrooms and grit is at thekitchn.com. One important learning is that the water you use to rehydrate these mushrooms is at least as important as an ingredient as the mushrooms themselves. I really hate grit in my food, so I was fastidious during the soaking-rinsing process. It took some time. I ended up with a small amount of mushroom volume, and a few cups worth of an amazing mushroom broth. It needed to be strained through a very fine strainer, but it was amazing, and it should be a crime to discard, which is what you might do if you follow the instructions on the jar/pack.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 400 g button mushrooms
- 200 g shitake mushrooms
- 200 g portobello mushrooms
- 100 g baby mushrooms for garnish
- 2 cups water
- 2 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock if not vegetarian
- 2 onions
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tomatoes
- 20 g butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 2 egg yolks
- 200 ml cooking cream
- 1 Tbsp truffle oil
- 1/2 cup radish sprouts
- 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup grated cheese
Wash all the mushrooms
Put 2 cups of water in a put and bring to the boil
Roughly chop one onion and tomatoes and add to the pot.
Remove the stalks from all the mushrooms and add to the pot
Remove the stalks from the parsley and add to the pot
When the water and vegetables come to a boil reduce to a simmer and cook for 40 minutes.
Chop the all the mushrooms except the baby ones
Finely chop the other onion and garlic cloves.
Sauté onion and garlic in the butter and olive oil
When onions are becoming transparent and starting to brown, add the chopped mushrooms.
Cook until the mushrooms have reduced in size and the most of the moisture they emit has evaporated
Strain the vege stock into a large pot and add the two cups of chicken stock
Add the black pepper and nutmeg
Add the sautéed mushrooms onion and garlic and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 45 minutes.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes, then use an immersion blender or food processor to blend until smooth.
Strain through a sieve to remove any larger bits.
Rinse the pot and return the strained liquid to it. Return to a simmer.
Sauté the baby mushrooms.
Lightly whisk the egg yolks into the cream.
Add the fish sauce to the soup.
Slowly add the whisked cream and eggs, stirring all the time
After a few minutes the soup should thicken.
Halve the baguettes. Top with grated cheese mixed with parsley.
Grill for a few minutes until cheese is melted.
To serve, top with the baby mushrooms, radish sprouts, and a drizzle of truffle infused olive oil.