I was sitting in my favorite little hole in the wall in Narita, Japan and eating a bowl of noodles. I looked at the servers delivering food and I noticed this bowl of creamy looking mushroom soup. Of course, immediately my brain went into overdrive and I thought about cream of mushroom soup. So, I took some of the flavors I love from Japan and incorporated them into cream of mushroom soup. This is by far one of the best cream of mushroom soup’s I’ve ever tasted! Seriously!
1 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups unsalted vegetable stock
6 ounces fresh Portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed, chopped small
6 ounces fresh button mushrooms, stems removed, chopped small
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped leeks, white and green parts, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
3 sprigs fresh Thyme
¼ teaspoon Shichimi Togarashi or pinch red chili pepper flakes
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
¾ cup sake or white wine
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup half and half cream
½ cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons white miso
Steamed shelled soy beans or sautéed mushrooms to garnish, optional
To reconstitute the shiitake mushrooms, add all of the vegetable stock to a saucepan and add the dried shiitake mushrooms. Simmer on low with a cover on for 15 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft. Put the stock and shiitake mushrooms in a blender and blend until the mushrooms are in tiny pieces. Add enough extra stock to the mushroom/stock mixture to equal 48 oz. total. Do not omit this paragraph as this is the flavor base of the soup.
Clean the Portobello and button mushrooms by wiping them with a moist paper towel. Don’t wash them!
In a large Dutch oven, add the olive oil and butter and heat to low-medium. Add the onion and leeks and saute for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the Portobello mushrooms, button mushrooms, garlic, and thyme sprigs to the pan. Saute for about 6 minutes or until the mushrooms are tender. Add the Shichimi Togarashi, salt and pepper and cook for 30 seconds. Add the sake and simmer on medium high for 2 minutes, or until the liquid has evaporated, scraping the bottom of the pot. Turn the heat down to medium and sprinkle the flour on top of the vegetables and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the shiitake mushroom stock, whisk in the miso, and simmer on low-medium for 15 minutes. Remove the thyme sprigs. Add the half and half and the heavy whipping cream and season with kosher salt and pepper if needed. Serve hot.