Don't you just love Fall? The glorious chill in the air, wearing your favorite cashmere sweater for the first time in months, not to mention the mouth-watering culinary implications. For me, soup becomes a top priority, and apparently I'm in some very good company! After taking a little Stephanie Savors the Moment Facebook poll, it appears there are plenty of you who also share a passion for soup, with preferences ranging from Carrot Soup with Star Anise to Julia Child's Santa Barbara Fish Soup, to "Plain Old" Chicken and Vegetable - definitely my kind of crowd!
After a few weeks of cooking through the "Bread & Breakfasts" Chapter in "Savor the Moment," I am happy to be moving onto "Soups, Salads & Sandwiches" and the timing couldn't be better! I am happy to share with you the recipe for Mushroom and Tomato Soup with Vermouth (pg. 116), a deliciously creamy soup that is sure to warm you up on a chilly, Fall day. In addition to other delicious ingredients, this recipe calls for bouquet garni. "Bouquet garni" is French for "garnished bouquet" and refers to a bundle of herbs either tied together with string or enclosed in a sachet that is used to flavor soup, stock, and various stews. The bouquet is boiled with the other ingredients, then removed prior to serving. While the herbs included can vary, the one for this recipe call for fresh parsley, thyme, oregano, basil and bay leaf.
In addition to the bouquet garni, fabulous flavor is derived from leeks, garlic, watercress and vermouth, along with great earthiness and texture from the mushrooms. The alcohol in the vermouth is eliminated during the cooking process so don't worry about getting tipsy from eating it! Otherwise, the recipe itself is pretty straightforward; however, I would advise you to be sure and hold on to the top of the blender cover while processing the hot soup or, better yet, remove the center portion of the lid and cover it with a dish towel to keep it from ending up all over your kitchen. As with most soups, the finished product gets better and better the longer it sits, although this soup it so good it probably won't last too long.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and please check out the Stephanie Savors the Moment Facebook Page and give it a "like" to take part in some fun food and wine discussions!
Mushroom and Tomato Soup with Vermouth (pg. 116)
3 ribs celery, chopped
white portion of 1 leek, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 ounce mushrooms, chopped
5 cups peeled, seeded, chopped tomatoes
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup vermouth
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 bouquet garni
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chopped watercress
Garnish: chopped fresh chives
Saute the celery, leek ad garlic in the heated oil in a heavy large saucepan over medium-low heat for 7 minutes or until tender. Increase the hear to high and add the chopped mushrooms. Saute for 5 minutes or until light brown.
Add the tomatoes, Chicken stock, cream, vermouth, tomato paste, sugar and bouquet garni. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for 30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bouquet garni. Process the soup in a blender until smooth. Pour into the saucepan.
Saute the sliced mushrooms in the butter in a small skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Stir into the soup. Stir in the watercress and adjust the seasonings. Cook until heated through. Ladle into soup bowls and garnish with chopped chives.
Note: The bouquet garni for this recipe is made of 2 parsley sprigs, 1 thyme sprig, 1 oregano sprig, 1 basil sprig, and 1 bay leaf tied in a cheesecloth bag.