The cold weather is here and if you're anything like me, it's time to Get Your Soup On. I love a hot bowl of soup after a brisk, sometimes bracing walk home and this is a recent favorite. So much a winner, that I actually served it as the opener for my Thanksgiving dinner this year. It's lush, hearty, delicious and wholly satisfying. Here's my "Corn and Porcini Mushroom Chowder".
It's perfectly acceptable to use dried porcini mushrooms in this soup, since you can't find them fresh anyway this time of year. Just make sure they are pale light brown and beige, not dark brown or black. Also for the corn fresh tastes best but frozen is also good. I can find it still with fresh cobs here in New York and you can in most places with Whole Foods or gourmet stores. Make sure that there's no other additives or preservatives if you're using frozen corn. You just want pure, natural and simple corn and we'll jazz it up with other ingredients. It's simple and hearty and one that made both Mr. Scrumptious and our friend mmmm and ahhhh. Matter of fact, this is one of those excellent soups that tastes even better the next day so make sure you have plenty for leftovers!
1 oz. dried Porcini mushrooms, reconstituted, washed and finely sliced
2 T. unsalted butter
1/2 small yellow onion, diced small, about 1/4 cup
1/2 rib celery, diced small, about 1/4 cup
2 T. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 - 2 c. homemade chicken or vegetable stock, heated
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 c. corn kernels (fresh or thawed frozen) 1 cup whole, 1 cup pureed
2 small Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced small
1 fresh bay leaf
1/2 tsp. fresh thyme
1/4 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. milk
1/4 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
pinch of cayenne pepper
1. Put the porcini in a medium bowl and pour hot nearly boiling water over them until covered. Stir lightly to make sure all mushrooms are getting wet and set aside to steep. Heat the stock on a low simmer in a small saucepan.
2. In a large saucepan or medium stock pot melt the butter and add the onions and celery and cook on medium-low, sweating the onions until tender and translucent making sure they don't brown, about 6-8 minutes.
3. Add the flour to the saucepan with onions, butter and celery and stir to incorporate fully. Cook about 10 minutes, until a light blond roux is formed and the flour is no longer raw. Gradually add the stock and whisk to remove all lumps. Add the salt and pepper and simmer for 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile strain the porcini mushrooms, reserving and straining half the liquid. Rinse the mushrooms and pat them dry, slice into thin long strips. Puree half of the corn in a food processor or immersion blender. Add the pureed corn, whole corn kernels, potatoes, bay leaf, porcini mushrooms, mushroom water and thyme. Simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
5. Combine the cream and milk and add to the soup. Add the Worchestershire sauce and cayenne pepper. Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.