Recipe Review: Roasted Mushroom Soup with Apple Cider Stock Part II

As I indicated in Recipe Review: Roasted Mushroom Soup with Apple Cider Stock Part I, this is a soup I’ve been wanting to make for years and haven’t taken the time to tackle.  The class I taught at The Kitchen Shop and Cooking School on Friday evening was entitled Apple Harvest and included apples in each recipe.  What better time to work with this recipe?

In Part I of my post, I explained how I made the cider stock….now for the soup.  In comparison with the making of the stock, the soup is a breeze!

First the mushrooms….for some quick peeks at my recent experience at the mushroom festival in Kennett Square, PA, click here and here…..the recipe called for yellow morel mushroom, oyster mushrooms, and button mushrooms.  Since I wasn’t able to locate morels in my area, I substituted Portobello each time I made the soup.

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I cleaned the mushrooms with a mushroom brush and a damp paper towel and then, although the recipe instructed me to saute the mushrooms whole, never one to follow directions I sliced the mushrooms and sautéed them in butter, stirring occasionally.  “Why?” you ask.  I thought the mushrooms would give up their liquids more quickly and would brown better if they were sliced rather than whole…..my thinking may be flawed (or not), but the outcome was some beautifully browned mushrooms!

After the mushrooms were browned and no liquid remained in the pan, I added some Madeira wine, fresh oregano, and salt/pepper.

In the last year I’ve learned a little something about Madeira wine.  I’m no expert, but I the following information fascinating and thought you might too.  Madeira (REAL Madeira) is made in Portugal – in the Madeira Islands – and is a wine fortified with brandy.  (Not too bad so far, right?)  There is a wide spectrum – from dry to sweet – of this very robust wine.  The wine undergoes a unique wine making process and a unique aging process.  During wine making, the wine is heated for an extended period of time and is exposed to a specific level of oxidation.  During the aging process, the wine is stored in sauna-like conditions.  These processes are meant to mimic the intense heat and constant movement of the ships on which Madeira was originally transported – these two factors had a transforming effect on the wine.

In my quest to learn about Madeira and try different brands, I have found that you can buy “knock-off” Madeiras from California – they are quite inexpensive, but you get what you pay for.  When I spent $10 more per bottle on Leacock’s Rainwater Madeira, I got a change in flavor that was immeasurable! I’m not sure for cooking I would spend much more per bottle, but for drinking I certainly might!

Anyway, back to the soup…while the mushrooms and Madeira mingled in the skillet, I heated the cider stock in a separate stock pot.  The mushrooms continued to cook until the Madeira evaporated.  Then I added all but 1/2 cup of the mushrooms into the heated stock and simmered it for 15 minutes.

Finally, I used my immersion blender to puree the soup until it was smooth (if you like a little texture in your soup, feel free to leave it chunky).  I added a whisper of heavy cream, simmered the soup for an additional minute and tasted it for seasoning adjustments.

Then, the moment of truth….taste testing.  The roasted mushroom soup with apple cider stock was magnificent.  It was smooth,, creamy (but not overly so), warm, and flavorful.  It had a hint of sweetness from the stock which balanced nicely with the mushrooms.  I will say the second time I made it the apple cider I purchased was sweeter than the first time and I liked the soup better with a less-sweet cider.

This past Friday evening I made this soup for the students in my Apple Harvest class and they LOVED it too!

I’d give this soup 5 M’s out of 5!

Even though it is very time-intensive, it is worth the work.  I would definitely recommend you giving this soup a try….perhaps for a holiday or other special occasion. You will not be sorry!

Roasted Mushroom Soup with Apple Cider Stock

Ingredients

  • 2 cups yello morel mushrooms (can substitute portobello mushrooms)
  • 2 cups oyster mushrooms
  • 2 cups button mushrooms
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves (divided)
  • 1/4 cup Madeira wine
  • 7 cups apple cider stock (see recipe below)
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)

Note

Adapted from "In Praise of Apples: A Harvest of History, Horticulture & Recipes" by Mark Rosenstein, 1996.

This recipe will make more cider stock than you need for the Roasted Mushroom Soup with Apple Cider Stock.  YOu can freeze the rest for other uses.

Directions

1. Wipe any dirt from the mushrooms and remove and discard any dried, hard parts of the stems.
2. Heat the butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the whole mushrooms and sauté, tossing once or twice during the first few minutes. The mushrooms will begin to render their liquid.
3. After 5 minutes, reduce the heat to medium-low.
4. Pour 7 cups of cider stock into a stockpot (separate from the mushrooms) and bring to a simmer.
5. Continue to cook the mushrooms, browning them and allowing them to render all their liquid. You may need to add some additional butter to keep them from sticking to the pan or burning. Stir once every 3 minutes while they cook.
6. After the mushroom liquid has evaporated, add the salt, pepper, 2 Tbsp oregano, and the Madeira wine. Allow the wine to evaporate completely.
7. Add all but 6 Tbsp of the browned mushrooms to the simmering stock. Turn the heat up and bring the stock to a slow boil. Cook for 15 minutes.
8. Check seasonings and adjust if necessary.
9. Puree the finished soup with an immersion blender.
10. Add the cream and cook for about 1 additional minute to allow the cream to incorporate into the soup.
11. Divide among bowls and garnish with the remaining oregano and the whole mushrooms.
12. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

Apple Cider Stock

Ingredients

  • 4 cooking apples (such as Fuji, Golden Delicious, Jonagold, Cortland, or Nittany)
  • 6 medium carrots
  • 6 leeks (roots and 1/2 of greens leaves removed)
  • 4 cups Portobello mushroom stems
  • 3 tablespoons light cooking oil (such as safflower or peanut oil)
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1 gallon fresh apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 12 sprigs fresh Italian parsley
  • 1 bay leaf

Note

Adapted from "In Praise of Apples: A Harvest of History, Horticulture & Recipes" by Mark Rosenstein, 1996.

This recipe will make more cider stock than you need for the Roasted Mushroom Soup with Apple Cider Stock.  YOu can freeze the rest for other uses.

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.
2. Core and chop the unpeeled apples.
3. Cut the peeled carrots, leeks and mushroom stems into 2" pieces (discard any hard ends of the mushroom stems).
4. Place the chopped veggies and apples on sheet pans, toss with the cooking oil, and add the whole coriander seeds.
5. Roast until veggies and apples are golden brown, about 2 hours, turning the ingredients approximately every 30 minutes to ensure even browning.
6. Scrape the roasted vegetables into a stockpot. To loosen the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the roasting pan, pour in 1/2 to 1 cup of cold water and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon (this process is known as deglazing).
7. Add the cider, the remaining stock ingredients, and just enough cold water to cover the vegetables. Place the lid on the stockpot, leaving it slightly ajar, and heat the stock over medium-low heat. It should reach a simmer in approximately 1 hour. Simmer for 8 hours, adjusting the heat if necessary.
8. Strain, cool and refrigerate.

MmmMmmMmmushrooms – Part II

Sorry to make you wait for Part II of MmmMmmMmmushrooms.  To recap MmmMmmMmmushrooms – Part I, Jeff and I and our friend, Ron, and our niece, Vanessa, attended the 28th Annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, PA this past Saturday.   Up to this point in the adventure, we’d made our journey from the Harrisburg area to Kennett Square, figured out a plan to meet up with Vanessa, successfully rendezvoused, and begun tasting food.  So far we’d tried arepas and Roasted Mushroom and Gorgonzola Hummus.

After a brief stroll through The Market at Liberty Place on State Street we cooled down a bit and worked off the Roasted Mushroom and Gorgonzola Hummus we had shared.  We continued to wind our way through the crowds and to look at the offerings in each booth.  As you might imagine, we saw many interesting mushrooms along the way.

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Just before we reached the entrance to the mushroom exhibit, we stumbled across a booth offering Mushroom Mac & Cheese…..how can you resist that?  You can’t 0r at least we could not!  We shared one order with four forks and while we were eating there was no shortage of ‘mmm’s’ and ‘oh’s’…..it was terrific – it was hands-down my favorite food of the day.  The mushrooms were easily detectable – earthy and warm and the mac and cheese was creamy and salty with a crispy, crunchy topping.

Mushroom Mac & Cheese

Mushroom Mac and Cheese

We made light work of the mac and cheese and headed for the mushroom exhibit, where we learned about the substrate or growing medium for mushrooms.  We saw and learned about different varieties of mushrooms and, of course, had some laughs and took some great pics!

Baby Mushrooms Pushing through the SubstrateBABY MUSHROOMS PUSHING THROUGH THE SUBSTRATE

Many MushroomsMANY, MORE MATURE MUSHROOMS IN THE SUBSTRATE

More Mature Mushrooms in the SubstrateCLOSER SHOT OF MORE MATURE MUSHROOMS

ShiitakesSHITAKES

Shitake mushrooms are the most popular in Asia.  They look like little parasols and, in my opinion, have a somewhat spongy texture in your mouth.

PomPom Lion's Mane MushroomsPOM POM LION’S MANE

The Pom Pom Lion’s Mane mushrooms were so interesting to look at and to touch.  They were quite soft and furry.  We were not able to eat these at the festival (at least that I saw) and I’ve never tried one, but my research tells me they have a chewy texture and taste faintly of seafood.

Oyster Mushrooms OYSTER MUSHROOMS

Oyster mushrooms are dove-gray in color and they have a delicate flavor.  I recently used them – along with some other types of mushrooms, in a Roasted Mushroom Soup with Apple Cider Stock, which was heavenly.

We also saw two other colors of oyster mushrooms – yellow and pink.  They were beautiful!

Yellow Oyster MushroomsYELLOW OYSTER MUSHROOMS

We saw portabellos and criminis and porcinis, oh my!  And of course, we saw white button mushrooms – called agaricus – which is the most poupular mushroom consumed in the US.  But we also saw my favorite mushrooms – maitakis or hen of the woods mushrooms, which I had for the first time several months ago and have been using ever since.

Maitakis are typically found at the base of oak trees, but can be found at the base of other trees – like maple or elm – as well.  They have many names in addition to maitake or hen of the woods.  In Japan they are known as “dancing mushrooms” and the Italians refer to them as ‘signorinas’.  They are also referred to as ‘sheep’s head’ or ‘cloud’ mushrooms.  I have had and made these mushrooms simply pan-fried in butter with salt and pepper and they are delicious.

Mmmy Favorite Mmmaitakes or Hen of the WoodsMMMAITIAKE MUSHROOMS

MaitakeMORE MMMAITAKIE MUSHROOMS

I’ll be honest with you, it was quite warm under the exhibit tent; so although we were learning under there, we were also happy to exit!  When we left the tent, we were right at the booth where you order mushrooms to take home with you.  The set up they have is quite convenient.  You can order and pay for your mushrooms inside the festival at any time (for us it was great to do it just after we had learned about all the different varieties), but you don’t have to pick them up until you are on your way out – and conveniently, the pick-up location is right near the exit!  We decided to bring home some enokis, some maitakes and a large box of portabellos, which we shared with Ron.

All that learning about mushrooms made us hungry for another nibble – fried mushrooms….but we glammed it up some by ordering crispy portabello “fingers”.  They were quite crisp and very meaty tasting.  I really enjoyed the horseradish sauce with which they were served – it was a nice complement to the mild mushrooms.

Crispy Portabellos

An Order of Crispy Portabellos

We continued to explore the festival.  We tried on some hats, which made us giggle! And we had worked up a thirst, so we set about finding something to quench it.  A homemade soda sounded terrific, until we found out that in order to get the soda you had to buy a mug for either $12, $15 or $20.  Now I have been known to splurge on food before, but I was appalled by the idea of a $12 soda, let alone a $20 one.  So we opted to share a lemonade – $5 with $2.50 refills!

Our final treat of the festival was ice cream….according to Jeff, “There’s always room for ice cream.  It just melts around everything else.” And truthfully, as I mentioned earlier, we each only had one or two bites of each thing we ordered, so it really was a nice way to have lunch.  We had time and a nice walk in between our “courses”.  Jeff and Nessa and I shared the Cream of Mushroom Ice Cream and Ron opted for Strawberry.  While the Cream of Mushroom Ice Cream was good, it didn’t taste mushroomy.  It was like vanilla ice cream without as much sugar as usual and with a few brown flecks in it.

Cream of Mushroom Ice Cream

Although some of us had hoped to take a mushroom farm tour, we were newbies at this festival and didn’t realize you need to buy your tickets in advance.  So by the time we said goodbye to Vanessa (who opted for a nap instead of a farm tour) and got to the ticket booth, they were sold out of tours for the day.  Oh well, it wasn’t meant to be.

But since we were not ready to call it a day and head home, we decided to journey around Lancaster County on the way home.  We wound through back roads and passed farms and farm stands and we bought some apples, pears, peaches and other goodies.  The following are a few of my photos from after the festival.

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With Ron’s permission, I am also sharing a few of his photos from the day.  He loves snapping pics as much as I do – so we always have fun with our cameras when we are together.

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Our final stop of the day was Iron Hill Brewery for a quick dinner.  I know you’re probably thinking, “How could you possibly eat again after all that fair food?”  But it really wasn’t that much food when you divide it by four people and we worked up an appetite traversing the countryside!  I had a salmon wrap and I cannot even remember what Jeff or Ron ordered, but my food was good – not great – but perhaps that was because I was comparing it to all the yummy dishes we’d sampled earlier in the day.  The only photo I managed to snap at the restaurant was of our drinks – maybe I was more thirsty than hungry!

Lots of Drinks

All in all, it was a fun and educational day that  hopefully will become a tradition.  We had no trouble parking or navigating the festival so next year should be even easier. We know now that we should pre-order our farm tour tickets.   We already have the 29th Annual Mushroom Festival on our calendars for 2014!  I’d love to run into you there!!!!

What’s your favorite mushroom recipe or dish?

MmmMmmMmmushrooms – Part I

I am sitting back, eating a delicious BLT&P (bacon, lettuce, tomato and parmesan – oh yeah!) that Jeff made for lunch and reflecting on the day we had yesterday.  Before I tell you about yesterday; I have to share some photos of the sandwich with you!

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The BLT&P was messy and flavorful – just the way I LOVE a sandwich!!!

Anyway, back to yesterday.  Jeff and I and our friend Ron (wish his wife, Leslie, could have joined us) took a road trip to Kennett Square, PA for the 28th Annual Mushroom Festival.  We had no idea what to expect, having never been there; but the three of us are always up for an adventure and can always regroup and go to plan B if necessary.  Fortunately, however, it wasn’t necessary!

The first (of two) glitch of the day was when we came to a complete standstill while we were traveling on Route 283.  We never did determine what the hold-up was, but we sat at a standstill for about 20 – 30 minutes.  Always one to find the silver lining, during that time I learned about a new-to-me app, Waze. Waze is an app that allows drivers to share real-time traffic information to help one another.  Of course, you have to use the app BEFORE you’re sitting in a parking lot on the highway!!!

The second glitch of the day was at a “quick” coffee/potty stop at McDonald’s.  We ordered our coffees (tea for Ron) and then waited…and waited…and waited…and waited.  You need to know that Jeff is a relatively patient guy.  He rarely complains about a wait and normally gives people the benefit of the doubt.  After about 15 minutes waiting for two iced coffees, I thought his head was going to explode.  He finally complained to a manager and we quickly received our coffees and were headed to the parking lot and back on our way.  Or so we thought…after the first sip of his coffee he declared, “This is really bad.  It doesn’t even taste like coffee.”  So we encouraged him to go back in – of course, we warned him that the next version of the iced coffee might taste a little like spit.

While Ron and I waited, I backed the car out so that Ron could get in (thank you to the person who parked VERY closely to our car) and then we did some laps around the parking lot. Finally Jeff came out and we got back on the road.  Whew….as far as glitches go, we were really lucky!!!!  Again finding the silver lining, had I not taken the driver’s seat, Jeff wouldn’t have gotten on Facebook to see our niece’s status.  Vanessa had just posted, “What a perfect, pretty day! Now what to do with it?!”  Knowing that Kennett Square is not too far from where ‘Nessa lives, Jeff texted her and asked her to meet up with us at the Mushroom Festival and she agreed.  The more the merrier!

So Jeff coordinated the meet-up with Vanessa and I found a place to park.  We paid our admission fees, got our arm bands on and began our mushroom adventure.  While we waited for Vanessa to park and take a shuttle to meet us, Jeff and Ron and I meandered through the festival.  There were many vendors including restaurants, crafters, retail stores, culinary products, clothing and accessories, etc.  And of course, there was a lot of food, many dishes made with mushrooms and some made without mushrooms.  We took many pics while we walked and waited for Vanessa….here are just a few.

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As we strolled from booth to booth, the arepas grabbed our attention. So while we waited for Vanessa’s call, the three of us shared one.  Arepas are a staple food in Venezuela and are thick corn cakes split and filled with cheese.  When they are heated the cheese becomes ooey and gooey and the corn cakes get slightly brown and crisp.  Let me just say, mmm mmm mmm – Venezuelan comfort food!

Arepas

Digging In

One of the best things about hanging out with friends is being able to share food – you can try different things when you’re just having a bite or two of each!

Shortly after the arepa, ‘Nessa called and we headed back to where we had started to meet her.  When at last we met up and introduced Ron and Vanessa and we were all fast friends, we began our festival experience in earnest.  While the arepas were good, they didn’t have mushrooms in them, so we had to get going on our mushroom tasting!  Had to….

Our first mushroom stop was at the stand of a Kennett Square restaurant called Portabellos.

A Place for a Future VisitEverything that the people in front of us in line were ordering smelled and looked wonderful.  It was hard to decide what to order, but we decided to share the Roasted Mushroom and Gorgonzola Hummus.  It turned out to be a good choice. Although it was difficult to detect the gorgonzola, it was still really good and really mushroomy!

Roasted Mushroom & Gorgonzola Hummus

If I had only been going to order ONLY one thing all day, I may have chosen Portabellos’ Portabello Mushroom Cheesesteak Sandwich because it looked fabulous – but, there were too many things to try to fill myself up on only one thing!

The sky was bright blue, the sun was out and although the day started off on the chilly side, after the first hour at the festival I was wishing I hadn’t worn long sleeves and a BLACK long-sleeved top to boot.  But you live and learn!  We continued to look at the stands, stopping to look more closely at things that caught our interest and passing those that did not.  We talked and laughed, sometimes in a group of four and sometimes in pairs.  It was nice to have some time to catch up with Vanessa and find out how things are going with her. We had a brief reprieve from the sun and snapped some more pics when we explored The Market at Liberty Place on State Street.

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I have to get ready for work so please stay tuned for MmmMmmMmmushrooms – Part II detailing the end of our adventure at the 28th Annual Mushroom Festival in Kennett Square, PA.