Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 pound white mushrooms (I like to mix this up with some portobellos as well)
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped leaks or onion
2 garlic cloves, chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves stripped from stems
Salt and freshly milled pepper
1 tablespoon flour
1 quart Mushroom Stock
1/2 to 1 cup cream
Finely chopped parsley

Set aside a few nice looking mushrooms for garnish and coarsely chop the rest. Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a soup pot and ad the leek, garlic, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 cup water. Cover and stew over medium heat for 5 minutes, then raise the heat, add the chopped mushrooms, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the flour, add the stock, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, partiallyl covered, for 20 minutes. Puree the soup, return it to the pot, and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Keep warm over low heat.

Slice the reserved mushrooms. Melt the remaining butter in a small skillet, add the mushrooms, and saute over high heat until they begin to color, 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish the soup with the mushrooms and the chopped herbs and serve.

NOTE: I don’t add the cream to the soup because I think the soup taste wonderfully rich and mushroomy without it. I whip the cream at the end and then garnish with a dollop of cream (that melts and diner can stir to incorporate it if they want), the mushrooms, the parsley, and the fresh pepper. It looks lovely and tastes amazing. You can also do little patterns and designs with the cream on top if you don’t whip it, but instead put it in a plastic bag and cut off the tip. Looks very elegant.

Vegetarian Cooking for EveryoneThis recipe comes from the wonderful Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison. I highly recommend this cookbook, especially if you like making soups. She’s got a wealth of information in here about soup and will get you making all sorts of yummy concotions in no time.