Mushroom lovers everywhere…what can be more comforting than a beautifully earthy, creamy, and savory bowl of mushroom bisque? Not much, I will go out on a limb to proclaim right now. As a matter of fact, nature created cool weather specifically for no other purpose than the perfect occasion to experience this amazing bowl of comfort heaven. I am fairly certain of that.
Praise a bit too high? Perhaps. But this family, every last one of us, is CRAZY about mushrooms and anything mushroom related. Had my boys been at home to partake of today’s post, they would have inhaled this bisque. As a matter of fact, Matt and Sam used to discuss, routinely and in-depth while growing up, a mushroom-based business they hoped to open someday. It was the source of quite a bit of lively dinner-time discussion at our family table over the years.
I hated mushrooms as a kid and teenager, which is totally ironic here. My mom, who was forbidden by my father to cater to any of the kids’ culinary aversions, would sneak mushrooms into dishes by cutting them the exact same size as the meat in the dish. She figured that if they were the same size and color, I would just trust that it was a piece of meat and eat it. Yeah, right! I may have been ignorant regarding the joys of mushroom consumption, but I was not otherwise born yesterday. I would pick the mushrooms out of the food or sauces every time, only to have to eat them without the benefit of the other food or sauce. See, my dad was not impressed. Nor would he let me skate by not eating them.
Well, I now am very grateful that I was forced to eat them. Because, somewhere along the way, I fell in love with mushrooms. And my sweet husband is a joy to cook for because he eats just about anything, and mushrooms are a favorite. So, whether it was the result of my acquired taste for mushrooms genetically passed down, or Steve’s egalitarian palate, my two boys are true mushrooms aficionados. And for that, I am again grateful.
let’s make this delicious hearty mushroom bisque
This is a truly simple, but “oh, so rewarding” recipe. It doesn’t take much, and there is no real technique involved. But the velvety smooth, creamy, and flavor-bursting results could fool you into thinking this is a complicated dish.
Cook the sliced mushrooms in the melted butter with some salt until they have released their water and being to caramelize the pan. The salt will encourage the mushroom to release its moisture and then brown.
If you want, remove several cooked mushrooms to garnish the bisque for later when plating.
Then add the onion and the dried thyme. Stir and cook until the onion becomes translucent and aromatic.
I know it looks like a lot of onion, but please resist cutting back on them. They are a perfect complement to the earthy mushroom flavor, and actually accentuate the flavor in the finished bisque.
Stir in the flour and coat the ingredients to form a bit of a paste. Cook for a couple of minutes to get rid of the taste of raw flour.
Then add the garlic and the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes.
Next, process the soup completely in a blender. Seriously, do not be dissuaded from your efforts by the muddy color of the blended soup. By the time you add the cream and the garnishes, you will not be concerned at all with the bisque’s aspect. Trust me.
Return the mushroom bisque to the burner and stir in the cream. Cook until heated enough for serving.
It seems cream in soups is a desirable thing. But resist adding more the 1/4 cup of cream. Some mushroom bisque recipes add so much cream that it covers up that beautiful mushroom flavor.
Finally, plate that bad boy and go to town!
See the reserved mushrooms I saved for garnish? They add some aesthetic value, but not too much flavor value. Same with the chopped chives. The beautiful green contrast to the rather drab (although oh my gosh so delicious) bisque makes for a nice touch.
The garlic basil oil is, however, not only aesthetically pleasing, but mission critical. I include the recipe below, and you need to know this. Just as I shared that the amount of onion enhances the mushroom flavor? A drizzle of garlic basil oil takes the “mushroominess” of this bisque to new heights. I mean it, it really completes the dish.
I just had a fully dressed bowl of this hearty mushroom bisque, and let me tell you, I’m a very, very happy lady right now. Because it was oh, so yummy!
If you love mushrooms like we do, this mushroom bisque is a great meal option for you!
- FOR THE GARLIC BASIL OIL
- 2 cups basil leaves and stems, packed
- 1 clove garlic, smashed
- 1 cup olive oil, not extra virgin
- FOR THE MUSHROOM BISQUE
- ¾ pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- ¾ pound button mushrooms, sliced
- ¼ cup butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 3 cups chicken broth
- ¼ cup cream
- Chopped chives for garnish
- Cracked pepper
- FOR THE GARLIC BASIL OIL
- Heat a small sauce pan with water to boil and prepare an ice water bath in a bowl.
- When the water is simmering, place the basil leaves and stems in the water for about 10 seconds, then transfer the basil to the ice water bath.
- Once cooled, strain the basil and gently squeeze away any excess water.
- Chop the basil coarsely, and process in a blender with the olive oil, a hint of salt, and the garlic until well blended.
- Strain through cheese cloth to remove the solids, and refrigerate.
- FOR THE MUSHROOM BISQUE
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a Dutch oven or large soup pot and then brown the sliced mushrooms until all water has been released and the mushrooms start to caramelize the pan.
- Reserve several cooked mushrooms for garnish, if you want.
- Add the onions and thyme, cooking until the onions are translucent and aromatic.
- Stir in the flour and coat the ingredients in a scant paste. Stir and cook for a minute or two to remove the taste of raw flour.
- Add the garlic and chicken broth. Bring to a simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Next, process the mushroom mixture in a blender until completely smooth in two batches or more, depending on the size of your blender.
- Return the processed mixture to the soup pot. Stir in the heavy cream and heat to serving temperature.
- Spoon into bowls and garnish with the reserved cooked mushrooms, some chopped chives, and some generous drizzles on the garlic basil oil.