While I was in Atlanta in December, A and L took me to Fresh to Order. I ordered the soup and salad combo with wild mushroom soup. I was expecting a brothy soup, but instead had the most delicious cream of mushroom soup I had ever eaten. I tried to pick out some of the flavors to recreate it, but my palate is not very sophisticated. I could tell that it had tons of cream (that didn't take a genius) and some sherry, but that's as far as I could get. I decided to try something similar (but a little bit lighter).
Cream of Mushroom Soup (adapted from The Savory Notebook)
1 Tbsp whole white wheat flour
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 oz. dried mushrooms (I used mix of porcini, oyster, and woodears)
2 tsp butter
1 small onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground pepper
1 lb mixed fresh mushrooms, sliced thinly (I used 4 oz. shiitake and 12 oz. button)
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup half-and-half
2 Tbsp sherry
Toast flour in small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until fragrant (2-3 min). Pour flour into bowl and set aside to cool. Pour boiling water over dried mushrooms, cover, and let sit for 20 min. After they've soaked, chop mushrooms and save liquid.
Melt butter in medium pot. Add onions and saute until tender. Add garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook for 30 seconds. Add fresh mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 min. Add dried mushrooms and chicken broth. Pour mushroom liquid into flour (but try to avoid any grit that may have settled at the bottom of liquid), whisk together, and pour into pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 15 min. Add milk and simmer for 10 min, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and add half-and-half and sherry. Use immersion blender (or pour some of soup into regular blender in batches) to blend soup slightly. I blended mine enough to make it creamy (and also frothy), but still had a lot of yummy mushroom chunks left. Serves 3.
This is really good. I love mushrooms, and this has a good mix of different varieties. It's not the prettiest of soups (The Savory Notebook has a much better picture), but that doesn't affect the flavor. You can go crazy and use whatever kinds you want, and it'll be different each time (although this could get quite expensive). It isn't as rich as the one at Fresh to Order, but it's still creamy and good. After looking into it, I found out that the F2O one has 83 calories... in 2 tablespoons!!! No wonder it's so creamy! This one has less than 1/5 that amount but still has a great taste. This is a great day-to-day mushroom soup, and I suppose for special occasions you could throw a cup (or gallon) of cream in the pot.
I've been dying to get an immersion blender, but wanted to wait until I needed it. This gave me the perfect excuse to splurge and get one. It's a wonderful addition to my kitchen gadget collection (although cabinet space is getting very limited...). Now I'm ready to blend everything in sight!