As a former consumer of television cooking shows, I picked up some bad habits. Garnishing dinner plates with herbs, and trying to incorporate color when it was unnecessary were among my most common. Washing mushrooms was another. It was one of the Food Network talking heads that talked me out of it.
This is apparently one of those kitchen myths. You should brush mushrooms, not wash or submerge them, because they absorb too much of the water and rob the veggie of its natural earthy flavor. Turns out that was a pile of garbage. Sure, you don’t want to soak the mushroom but running it under a stream of water to clean off the dirt and other assorted (and literal) crap that gets stuck to them is a good idea. So, there you go.
I thought about this the other day as I was washing hunks of dirt and whatever off my mushrooms for this soup. The other thing I did that I don’t normally do is remove off the stems, but that was for less of a culinary or health purpose. I snapped one off one of the little cremini mushrooms in my hand and it made a neat little popping noise. So, not unlike 12-year-old me with a bunch of bubble wrap, I started popping stems off until they were all gone. I’m starting to think that I need a few days off from work.
WHAT WORKED: The immersion blender took this soup from something very weird looking (a bunch of little brown heads bobbing in the liquid) and made it a smooth, silky broth.
WHAT DIDN’T: The brie. I used Trader Joe’s double cream brie and it really didn’t bring much to the soup. Next time, I would do something a little more earthy and dank.
EASE OF PREPARATION: Easy to medium.
BEST FOR: A first course for an elegant dinner or something different for Meatless Monday.
SERVE WITH: I served it over basmati rice as a starch.
Mushroom and Brie Bisque
Adapted from Closet Cooking
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 1/2 lbs. cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stemmed and quartered
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. herbes de provence
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 qt. vegetable broth
- 4 oz. brie, cut from the rinds and cubed
- 4 oz. heavy cream, taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before adding to the pan
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Spread the mushrooms out in a single layer on a lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then roast for 20 minutes, turning once.
In the meantime, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat and add the onions. Adjust heat to medium and cook 5 to 7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add garlic and herbs, cooking until the garlic is fragrant. Stir in the flour and cook for two more minutes.
Deglaze the pan with wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned-on bits. Pour in the broth and add the mushrooms, bringing the pan to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes.
Gently pour in the cream and stir in the brie. When the cheese melts, puree the soup with an immersion blender or in stages using a regular blender. Taste the broth, adjust flavors with salt and pepper, and serve immediately.