Seasoned food junkies like yours truly always find ways to enhance the recipe, spin it, bring up a different note every time. This is a great way to keep things interesting in the kitchen, or renew one’s love for an old, seemingly ordinary staple number. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great way to ruin a perfectly good dish as well! I could tell stories full of hind-sight wisdom, and write volumes on how one should never mess with classics, but what good will it do? I don’t want to keep anyone from trying new things. Only you can determine what’s a perfection you shouldn’t trifle with and what’s open for tweaking.
Today’s feature is one of those things I think you shouldn’t mess with. It was great the first time around, and have been consistently great for me time after time. The best part of it, it’s incredibly easy to make. Just a handful of this and that, some silly 30 minutes of simmering, and voila — you got yourself a great lunch or dinner meal.
I originally found this recipe here, but it’s admittedly not the first-hand source, and I have no idea who the original author is. In any case, I felt I should at least link back to the recipe, and give you the option to do further research.
I didn’t have a whole pound of portobello mushrooms, but I had about half and half of portobellos and shiitake, which worked out quite well. There are only a couple of notes I would like to make. If using different mushrooms, make sure they are approximately same size, so that you can slice them uniformly and ensure more or less uniform texture. The other thing is more of a caution. When adding stock to the pot, it may feel and look initially like there is not enough liquid there. I know you will be tempted to add more, but rest assured, when all the mushrooms and vegetables wilt and cook down, the thickness of the soup will be just perfect. If you still feel like there isn’t enough liquid, at least wait until all the veggies are wilted to add some, else you may end up with somewhat thin chowder.
Here are the What and How, for this batch:
Mushroom & Potato Chowder
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 large carrot, chopped
- 2 stalks of celery, chopped
- 2 medium potatoes, diced
- 1 lbs of fresh well flavored mushrooms, such as portobello, shiitake, oyster, morels, etc.
- 4 to 5 cups of chicken or beef stock (or water, if you so desire)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- a few sprigs of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup of cream (or light cream)
- 1/2 cup of grated parmesan
In a Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium heat. Toss in the onions and saute for a few minutes, until fragrant and translucent. Take care not to brown onions.
Add flour and, stirring with wooden spoon, cook for 1-2 minutes until onions are evenly coated and flour is lightly golden
Add stock, scrape the bottom of the pot with the spoon, and stir well. Bring to a boil, and continue stirring, so that no lumps remain.
Add all vegetables and mushrooms at once, season to taste, toss in thyme sprigs and bay leaf. Bring to a boil again, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes, until all vegetables and mushrooms are done to your liking.
Remove and discard thyme and bay leaf.
Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary. I found that more salt was needed than initially prescribed.
Add cream and cheese, and heat through.