I've been obsessed with wild mushrooms lately. They are sturdy and substantial enough to stand alone in most cold-weather dishes, but also willingly slip into the background as a supporting player. They add a rustic complexity that can't be duplicated.
When food52 ran a contest recently for "best mushroom soup," I set out to create a recipe and submit it for consideration.
Now, if you regularly read this blog, you'll see I tend to cook by instinct. I appreciate precise ratios and proper proportion, and I do follow recipes, but I often improvise and ad lib in the kitchen. And I never write anything down. So this posed an intriguing challenge.
Building a recipe requires a unique set of artistic and scientific skill: one that I hope to have years ahead to develop. I brainstormed flavor combinations, studied other recipes, and devoted a place in my mind to work through the equation while I went about my daily life. I sketched it out on paper, then took to the kitchen and refined and revised as I went along.
The result? A light-bodied, yet substantial soup that blends shallot, garlic, white wine, fresh rosemary, sage, thyme, four varieties of wild mushrooms, white beans and a touch of cream, pureed into a silky brew. My friend Jordana at Menu Maniac served as a tester, and I was excited and gratified to see that food52 named it an Editor's Pick (click to see recipe)!