Cream of Maitake Mushroom Soup
Pairs Well With
½ teaspoon anise or fennel seed
1½ cups finely diced Maitake Frondosa mushrooms, about 8 ounces
¼ cup minced shallot or a generous ½ cup of diced yellow onion.
6 tablespoons butter, divided use
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or water
Bouquet garni (two bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme and several sprigs of fresh parsley tied with a piece of string)
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk or half-and-half
Put the fennel seed in the bottom of a dry, heavy bottomed pan and place over low heat. The seeds will toast as the pan warms. When you can smell the licorice aroma and the seeds have just begun to brown a little, add 3 tablespoons of the butter. When the foam subsides, add the mushroom and shallot or onion and raise the heat to medium. Stir frequently as onions and mushrooms cook together. When they are quite soft, add the water or stock and the bouquet garni. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the bouquet garni. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
In a separate pan melt the other 3 tablespoons of butter and when the foam subsides, stir in flour. Keep heat at low or medium and cook for 3 or four minutes, stirring to check the color. The flour should cook, but you don't want the mixture to brown. This is what the French would call a blond roux.
Combine one cup of cold milk (or half-and-half) with one cup of the mushroom stock above. You don't have to strain out the mushrooms.
Stir this mixture into the roux and whisk vigorously to blend all the roux into the liquid. As this comes back to the simmer, it will begin to thicken. As it does so, add more of the mushrooms and their stock until all is used.
A final seasoning with salt and pepper and your soup is ready to serve.
This recipe, provided by Gourmet Mushrooms, our next-door neighbor, can be made with most types of mushrooms, but the Maitake Frondosa provides a heartiness that enhances and embraces our Georganne Pinot Noir, creating a sublime pairing.