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Mushroom Soup with Caramelized Onions
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From Fields of Greens by Annie Somerville


Serves/Makes:8 cups

  • 5-1/2 cups (1300 ml) mushroom stock (see mushroom stock recipe)
  • 1/2 oz (14 grm). dried porcini, soaked in 1/2 cup (125 ml) warm water for about 10 minutes
  • 2 tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium-size yellow onions, thinly sliced, about 4 cups
  • salt and pepper
  • 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb (.5 kg). white mushrooms, thickly sliced, about 5 cups
  • 1/4 lb (.1 kg). shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1/4 inch thick (save the stems for stock)
  • 1/2 cup (125 ml) dry sherry
  • soy sauce
  • 1 medium-size potato, peeled and thinly sliced, about 1 cup
  • 1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh herbs such as parsley, thyme, and marjoram
  • fresh lemon juice
  • Make the stock and keep it warm over low heat.
  • Pour the porcini through a fine strainer and save the liquid to use later. If the liquid is sandy, let the sand settle, then pour off the liquid.
  • Finely cop the porcini, discarding any pieces that are gritty or hard. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil in a soup pot and add the onions, 1/2 tsp (2 ml) salt, and a few pinches of pepper.
  • Saute the onions over medium heat until they begin to soften and release their juices, about 5 minutes, then add the porcini and half the garlic.
  • Continue to cook over medium heat, gently scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to keep the onions from sticking as they caramelize. (Add a little stock if needed.)
  • After about 25 minutes, the onions should be a rich golden brown.
  • While the onions are caramelizing, sauce the shiitake and white mushrooms together in 2 separate batches.
  • Heat 1/2 tbsp (7 ml) olive oil in a saute pan, add half the white mushrooms, 1/4 tsp (1 ml) salt, and a few pinches of pepper and saute over high heat. As the mushrooms cook, they'll release their juices; then the juices will evaporate and the mushrooms will begin to sear. At this point they'll begin to stick to the pan, but don't stir them.
  • Cook over high heat until they're golden, then stir once and continue to sear for 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add half the shiitake mushrooms, half the remaining garlic, 2 tbsp (30 ml) of the sherry, and a splash of soy sauce.
  • Cook for about 1 minute, stirring as needed, until the shiitake mushrooms are tender. The mushrooms will be very dark and flavorful.
  • Add a little stock if necessary to loosen them from the pan, then transfer them to a bowl.
  • Sear the second batch of mushrooms in exactly the same way, being sure to save all of the flavorful pan juices.
  • Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) of the remaining sherry and the porcini liquid to the onions to deglaze the pan.
  • Add the potatoes and 1 cup (225 ml) stock, then cover the pot and cook over medium heat until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes.
  • Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth, then return to pot. (This puree gives the soup its rich base.)
  • Add the mushrooms and remaining stock and cook for 20 to 30 minutes.
  • Stir in the fresh herbs just before serving, then season to taste with salt, pepper, and a splash of lemon juice.
"Caramelized onions and dried porcini give this earthy soup complexity and depth. The mushroom essence comes from searing the mushrooms over high heat with garlic, sherry, and a touch of soy. All the flavors come together in the rich mushroom broth, brightened with a splash of lemon."

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