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Rich Mushroom Bisque


Roasting intensifies the flavor of mushrooms, giving this soup a rich, earthy flavor. Madeira is a sweet wine made in Portugal. Sherry makes an acceptable substitute.

Yield: Serves 4 to 6


  • 1 pound portobello mushrooms, stemmed, dark gills removed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, caps cut into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 1/4 cups beef or vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Madeira wine
  • 3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, or 1/4 teaspoon dried


1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line 2 large baking sheets with foil. Divide the mushrooms between prepared the baking sheets. Drizzle the mushrooms with the oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until the mushrooms are tender and still moist, about 15 minutes longer. Cool slightly.

2. In a food processor or blender, combine half of the mushrooms with 2 cups of the broth and process until smooth.

3. In a large pot over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onion is tender, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry wine and simmer until almost all of the liquid evaporates, about 2 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

4, Add the remaining 3 1/4 cups of broth, milk, and thyme. Stir in the remaining cooked mushroom pieces and the mushroom puree. Simmer over medium heat until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and ladle into serving bowls.

Recipe Notes

• Almost all types of mushrooms are very absorbent and will soak up any moisture that’s available. Moisture causes mushrooms to decay rapidly (and makes them slimy), so the single most important aspect when cleaning them is not to soak them in water.
• Before you clean mushrooms, trim off the ends of the stems and any clumps of dirt that may be clinging. A soft-bristled brush or damp cloth can usually clean most of the dirt off of mushrooms. If the mushrooms are a little damp, use a clean cloth to dry them.
• Don’t discard the stems of fresh mushrooms like shiitake and portobellos. Use them instead to flavor stocks, soups, and stews. Wrap them in a square of cheesecloth and add them to a simmering liquid. The stems will release their flavor in about 20 to 30 minutes, then discard the cheesecloth bundle.
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