If you’ve ever tried making a clear soup out of just mushrooms (and who hasn’t?), you know that the results can be a little anemic. Combine chicken stock and a few sliced button mushrooms, and you’ll have cooked up a nice little hot mushroom bath that doesn’t taste like much of anything and feels suitable only for serving to prisoners.
The secret to amping up the flavor of mushroom soups and stocks to previously unheard of levels of deliciousness? It all comes down to the dried porcini mushroom, my friends.
Dried porcinis are the secret weapon of cooks looking to not just add mushroom flavor to their soups and stocks, but to add a heavy hit of mysterious, addictive umami funk to everything from eggplant to steaks. Working with dried porcinis is simple: they just need to be rehydrated with a little boiling water. After steeping in the water for about 20 minutes, you’ll have potent, flavorful mushrooms, as well as an intense mushroom stock that would make any adolescent brave enough to chug it, instantly and immediately go through puberty. It’s that intense.
Here, we pair the intensity of two ounces of porcinis with some standard-issue button mushrooms, and a few baby portobellos, to create some additional textual interest. Smoked Hungarian paprika and pancetta round out the flavors, and the whole shebiggle is finished with a big dollop of sour cream, to add richness. It’s a hearty soup, satisfying enough for a meal, and if you love mushrooms, I think you’re going to be a big fan.
- 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 pound button mushrooms
- 1/2 pound baby portobello mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1.5 teaspoons salt
- 3 ounces pancetta, chopped
- 1 tablespoon Hungarian smoked paprika
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 14.5 ounce can low sodium chicken broth
- 1.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and diced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 8 tablespoons sour cream
- In a measuring cup or bowl, cover porcini mushrooms with 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside until mushrooms rehydrate and soften, about 15-20 minutes.
- Remove stems from button mushrooms, and finely chop. Slice caps. Remove porcinis from soaking liquid with a slotted spoon, pressing out excess liquid, and finely chop. Set aside the soaking liquid.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, add olive oil and onions. Cook until onions soften, about 3 minutes. Add pancetta and cook, about 3 minutes more. Add paprika and cook until very fragrant, about 2 minutes. Increase heat to high, and add all the mushrooms. Cook, stirring constantly, until mushrooms begin to release liquid, about 5 minutes.
- Add wine, reserved porcini soaking liquid (pouring slowly to avoid adding all the dirt and chach in the bottom of the bowl), chicken broth, 2 cups of water, and potatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked through, about 10-15 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with a dollop of sour cream in each bowl.