The days are growing shorter, the shadows getting longer, and readers -- several in one week -- are requesting mushroom soup recipes.
Mushroom soup always soothes and warms, but these days, it’s the furthest thing from nursery food imaginable. It can be spicy or rich, made with clear broth or cream, with shiitakes or creminis -- but it’s never bland.
The three mushroom soups we tested were so distinctive, we decided to share all the recipes. Make one for a special occasion, another to get through a gray afternoon, and yet another to brighten a weekday supper.
Cream of mushroom soup with Sherry and Brie is from the California Grill at the Newport Beach Marriott Hotel. It was developed by chef Tom O’Keefe to serve at wedding receptions. “We had a mushroom soup that we wanted to make into a specialty soup. I’m a Sherry and Brie freak, so that was the first thing we tried, and it was great. Then we experimented with the artichoke hearts, and we liked that too.”
To make the mushroom sundubu (mushroom tofu soup), chef Hahn Kim of Young Dong Tofu Restaurant in Arcadia began with a traditional Korean soup made with oyster mushrooms. He then added enoki mushrooms, which are not available in Korea.
Kim likes the size and texture of the enoki -- “It’s so pretty,” he says -- and encourages cooks trying his recipe to experiment with different mushrooms, as he did.
Kim makes this soup in a clay stew pot, which can be found at Korean grocery and home stores. “The minerals add flavor and are good for you,” says Kim, adding that it’s also fine to use a metal saucepan, as we did in The Times’ Test Kitchen.
Marmalade Cafe’s mushroom soup is made with generous amounts of two kinds of mushrooms flavored with thyme, then simmered in a Port-richened broth for a deep, woodsy flavor.
Says chef Richard Vidal, “The thyme enhances the earthy flavor of the mushrooms, and the Port adds just a hint of sweetness as it’s cooked down.”
Mellowed with cream and pureed in the pot to a silky smoothness, this mushroom soup boasts complex flavors, but can make a simple, satisfying meal.