Creamy Mushroom Soup
1 pound shiitake and oyster mushrooms, caps thinly sliced and shiitake stems removed and reserved. Oyster stems may be sliced and cooked with caps.
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more as needed
1/2 cup chopped shallot
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon chopped rosemary leaves
1/4 cup dry sherry (may substitute unsweetened apple cider)
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more as needed
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream, optional
2 tablespoons chopped chives
Step 1: Add shiitake stems and stock in a stock pot. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to medium-low heat, cook for 30 minutes. Strain and discard any solids, then set aside to cool, there may be debris gathered at the bottom depending on which mushrooms you choose to use. Please see note below.
Step 2: While stock is simmering, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan over high heat. Add mushrooms in a single layer, allow to cook undisturbed for 8-10 minutes. The aim is to get the mushrooms nicely roasted and brown. Flip mushrooms and repeat on the other side. Set those mushrooms aside and repeat with remaining mushrooms until all mushrooms are browned, add more oil to pan with every new layer of mushroom. Remove mushrooms from pan, reserve 1/4 cup for garnish.
Step 3: In the same pan over medium-high heat add the remaining oil and shallots, cook for about 5 minutes until translucent then add garlic and butter. Cook for another minute until garlic is fragrant and add in tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, thyme, and rosemary. Cook for another 5 minutes, until tomato paste is darker in colour. Return mushrooms to the pan, stir and increase temperature to medium-high heat. Pour in the sherry and cook off the alcohol, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Step 4: Pour stock back into stock pot and add in mushroom mixture, once brought to a boil, take off the heat.
Step 5: Use an immersion blender or a high power countertop blender to make the soup extra smooth (remember to remove the middle piece of blender lid and cover with a dish towel to release steam).
Step 6: Once blended to your liking, stir in the cream and heat soup, garnish with chives, and reserved roasted mushrooms.
Notes: Any variation of mushrooms can be used, we love to use shiitake stems to enrich the flavour of the stock but if you do not have any, you can use any mushroom stems. Be careful not to pour in any sediment that has gathered at the bottom of the stock after simmering and straining.