Friday, September 19, 2008

Cup of creamy goodness picked in our own backyard!

Okay, that title is misleading - but this post will end with a recipe for the best kick-ass cream of mushroom soup EVER! Cause, I don't know if you know, but cream of mushroom soup is actually tasty when it's not out of a can. Canned cream of mushroom soup should be banned. It's only worth making bad casseroles and no one should have to eat bad casseroles!

I was not passionate about cream of mushroom soup until last night. But last night I had a taste-bud epiphany and I must now spread the word.

But first a digression - All the windows on one side of the apartment, which includes my bedroom and my office are being replaced. Yesterday the old windows were ripped out and new ones nailed in. This means no heat on all day yesterday. Now the new windows are all open so that the carpenter can easily pack insulation around them. So, still no heat. I haven't felt my nose, fingers or toes for the last 36 hours. God I hope tonight I can turn on the heat and not feel the icy draft that is common to Denmark in the fall.

Denmark in the fall, often gorgeous, but freakin' chilly.

Back to the soup. In order to get to last nights feast of flavor I have to go back two days, to when the Danish Boy was assigned a story by his editor. "I want a story about picking mushrooms!" the editor cried. And for whatever reason, the DB was chosen to write, what he calls "a puff piece." I say it is a great chance to try to write a gonzo-journalist story. l I even offered to write it for him. I was really exited by the idea, as you can see.

So yesterday, my boy gets a chance to write a story that would be relevant for the next day's paper, but because his newspaper is trying this new approach, called the "planned newspaper," his editor refused to let him off the hook and so the DB headed off into the woods to pick mushrooms with a nature guide, instead of writing up a story about the latest Gallup poll on the voting youth of Denmark.

Digression - what the heck is a "planned newspaper"? I mean, that's why they call it the NEWS, fercryinoutloud! You can't plan the news. Or, if you could, could you also give me tomorrow night's stock figures? Honestly, once I get done straightening out the danish political system (psst, everyone who hates the current government, instead of voting for 5 different parties, thus splitting the vote and ensuring that the government will not ever change, could you all just pick ONE FREAKING PARTY TO BACK! And hey, Social Democrats, stop pushing a nanny state solution during your campaigns. No one wants a nanny state, which is why Venstre keeps winning. And Venstre, dump the goddamned Danskfolkparty - they suck and anyone is better than that poor excuse for the KKK.) I'm going to have a go at the newspapers. First on my list, no more "planned newspapers" because that's just dumb. Second, stop laying off journalists and trying to compete with the free papers. The free papers are going to collapse soon, the economy cannot afford it. Nyavisen died, so will the others. Lowering yourself to their tabloid standards is tarnishing your reputation. Gah!

Anyway, the DB goes mushroom picking. He learned what mushrooms you can eat and how they are often in symbiotic accord with certain species of trees and all kinds of other things. He was bored stiff. The DB loves nature. He likes to walk through it and look at it. It's me who points to things and says "what's that!" Or "oh, look at the raccoon tracks! You can tell that their 'coons because of the little thumb print here!" I really should have been the person on that hike and the person writing that story. Damn and tarnation.

So after an hour in the woods (which, incidentally, are all over Aarhus, carefully cultivated and well kept) he brought back a bag of mushrooms. "Here" he says, "I slayed dinner."

Yup, my hero returns from the hunt. Only later would he admit that the guide had picked them. But during that time did I question his ability to pick edible mushrooms? No I did not. I accepted those mushrooms as dinner and up I cooked 'em.

Of course how I could cook them was another story. They were a little weird looking. Not your button mushroom, that's for sure. The DB suggested that I saute them up and serve them that way. Pshaw! I can do better than that. And I did.

So I now present the most awesome of Cream of Mushroom Soups (brought to you by

Digression - all of my measuring cups and things are still packed. I highly doubt the accuracy of the IKEA silverware as measuring spoons. Also, I didn't have enough mushrooms. Actually, although I did use everything listed in the ingredients, I sort of played with the amounts. Okay, so the soup I made may not be exactly what I was supposed to be making. I'll put my changes in italics in the right hand side of this table that I spent hours writing the code for. Hey, I learned something new - html code sucks ass.

Cream of Mushroom Soup Archaeogoddess Style
5 cups sliced mushrooms - any type4 cupsish wild mushrooms, I have no idea what type
1 1/2 cups chicken broth2 cups or 500 ml, because that's what one cube of bouillon makes
1/2 cup chopped onionA handful of chopped onion, because it looked like it was probably 1/2 cup
1/8 tsp dried thymeThat's a crying shame, I poured some in my palm and then added another dash or two or more. Hey, I like thyme
3tbsp butterTotally put in 50g or so, which is more than 3 tbsp, but I like butter
3 tbsp flourI put three soup spoons of flour in, which were not leveled or in any way properly measured
1/4 tsp saltOr perhaps more, I used my palm to measure and I'm not good at that at all
1/4 tsp pepperAbout the same amount as the salt
1 cup half and halfUsed whipping cream. And probably more than a cup, since 1 cup is 235 ml but I used the whole carton - which is 250 ml
1 tbsp sherryHa! A soup spoon and a lot more. I like sherry.

1) In a large pot cook mushrooms, onions, thyme and broth until tender - 10-15 minutes. So easy!
2) Puree, it's okay to leave some chunks. Oh thank god for my immersion blender! But there wasn't really enough soup to use it easily, so I had to sort of turn the pot at an angle... that's okay, I am totally doubling the recipe for next time.
3) In a smaller pot, melt butter and whisk in flour until smooth. Add salt, pepper and half and half. Mix thoroughly and add mixture to soup. The recipe writer originally wanted you to do this in a big bowl and add the mushroom mix to the cream, but that's just dumb and uses too many pots.
4) Bring soup to a boil, cook until thickened. About 30 seconds if you use whipping cream. Add sherry. Season to taste. And eat that bad boy while it's hot! So freakin' good!

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