Balthazar’s Cream of Mushroom Soup

I was agonizing over what to make my mom for an early birthday dinner celebration. She is the most gracious guest and always says she likes everything she is served- but I wanted to make sure that she was truly pleased. Finally, I just asked her what she would like! (That was simple enough.) “Soup and salad. Perfect in the colder weather. Mushroom soup would be wonderful,” she said. I was happy to find this fabulous recipe from the Balthazar. We ate it with a sourdough baguette and green salad- of course! A Birthday pear and apple galette was our celebratory dessert. Perfect. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook via Smitten Kitchen. I decreased the amount of sage, olive oil, and cream, increased the garlic, and modified the amount of each type of mushroom. Earthy and special. Happy Birthday, Mom!! ❤

  • 1 ounce dried mushrooms (porcini, morels, or shiitakes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 2 large sprigs of sage
  • 1 large yellow or sweet onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 6 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 20 oz white button mushrooms, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 12 oz shiitake mushrooms stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 6 cups organic chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Soak the dry mushrooms in 1 cup of warm water for 20 to 30 minutes, until plump.
  2. Strain the soaking liquid through a coffee filter to remove grit and reserve, along with the reconstituted mushrooms, until needed.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over a medium flame. Bundle the rosemary and sage together and tie with kitchen twine. When the oil is hot, add the herb bundle and sizzle for a few minutes on both sides to infuse the oil.
  4. Add the onion, garlic, salt and pepper and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent but not brown.
  5. Turn the flame to medium high to high and add the white mushrooms and shiitakes.
  6. Cook for 10 minutes, during which the mushrooms will give off their liquid (which should evaporate quickly due to the high heat) and deflate significantly. Stir occasionally.
  7. Add the chicken stock and the dried mushrooms along with the soaking water.
  8. Simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the herbs, then add the cream and butter.
  9. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth. (I used an immersion blender.) Return to the pot and keep at a very low simmer until ready to serve.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Easy Mushroom Lasagna

IMG_2069 This is the EASIEST lasagna recipe EVER. I had to check my recipe resource a few times (I double & triple checked!) while preparing this dish just confirm that the mushrooms did NOT have to be cooked before adding to this lasagna. The noodles didn’t have to be cooked either! I thought that the finished dish might be too saucy because of the moisture from the mushrooms, but it was perfect.

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Todd Porter and Diane Cu. I modified the recipe to use no-boil lasagna noodles. I also added garlic and used different types of mushrooms. My son had been begging for lasagna and he was quite pleased. 🙂 It was a titch too brown but it was still absolutely delicious!!

  • olive oil, for coating baking dish
  • 9 to 12 no-boil lasagna noodles
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • zest of 1 fresh lemon
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced through a garlic press
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 24 to 30 ounces tomato sauce (I used Victoria brand marinara)
  • 10 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced
  • 16 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with olive oil (or cooking oil spray) and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, egg, Parmigiano-Reggiano, lemon zest, garlic, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Spread a light layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the baking dish. Lay 3 to 4 lasagna noodles lengthwise over the sauce (or however they fit best in your pan).
  4. Layer one-third of the remaining tomato sauce over the lasagna noodles and then layer half of the ricotta mixture.
  5. Layer half of the mushrooms over the ricotta and then spread one-third of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat this pattern: noodles, sauce, ricotta cheese, mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.
  6. Add a final layer of lasagna noodles and then add the remaining tomato sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake lasagna for about 30 to 45 minutes or until the top cheese is melted and golden. (Watch carefully!) 🙂
  8. Remove from oven; let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving.

One Year Ago:

Two Years Ago:

Vegetable Strudel Casserole


I tend to make dishes with a similar theme or flavor-profile. This dish sounded original and different- outside of the box for me. Then Nancy of Feasting with Friends Blog posted a Veggie Strudel on the same day I was making this one! So, I suppose this dish isn’t that original…. but it was tasty. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen. I modified the recipe by baking it as a casserole instead of in individual pieces- seemed much neater that way! I also modified it by increasing the mushrooms, onions, and scallions, using cauliflower instead of broccoli, and by adding green beans. I also sprayed each layer of phyllo dough with canola oil spray instead of brushing with olive oil; I did brush the top layer with olive oil prior to baking. Very nice.

  • 1 T unsalted butter
  • 2 yellow onions, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 3 cups shredded green cabbage
  • 2 to 3 cups chopped cauliflower or broccoli (about a generous quarter of a large head)
  • 1 cup trimmed and chopped green beans, optional
  • 10 oz button mushrooms, minced
  • 1 to 2 tsp coarse salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 to 2 T fresh lemon juice
  • 3 T minced fresh dill
  • 7 scallions, greens and whites, minced
  • freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • 3/4 cup fine bread crumbs, separated
  • canola oil cooking spray
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound phyllo dough leaves, thawed
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (convection). Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking pan. (I use an enameled cast iron pan.)
  2. Make the Filling: Melt the butter in a Dutch oven. Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium heat. Add the carrot, cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower, green beans, mushrooms, and 1 tsp salt. Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring intermittently, until the vegetables are just tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Remove pan from heat. Stir in the caraway, garlic, lemon juice, dill, scallions, pepper, cheese, and 1/2 cup of the bread crumbs. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Remove half of the phyllo dough leaves from the package and sandwich between two pieces of plastic wrap. Cover with a damp towel.
  5. Lay one sheet of phyllo in the oiled baking pan and lightly spray with canola oil or lightly brush with olive oil. Continue layering the sheets of dough, adding oil between each layer, until 1/2 pound of dough (1/2 package) is used.
  6. Sprinkle the stack of phyllo with the remaining 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs.
  7. Add the filling, spreading it to within 1/2 inch of the edges.
  8. Layer more phyllo dough over the filling, spraying or brushing each layer with oil. Use the entire box. Brush olive oil over the top layer.


One Year Ago:

Creamy Mushroom Pappardelle


I fell in love with this dish when I read about it on What Jessica Baked Next. What initially enticed me about the dish was her beautiful fresh pasta… ironically, I served a loose adaptation of her sauce over store-bought pappardelle. I really wanted to make fresh pasta but ran short on time!! It was sooooo delicious anyway. 🙂 The use of dried pasta made this a dinner-party-worthy quick weeknight meal. (The BEST combination!) I will make this sauce again and serve it with fresh pasta! Fabulous!!

Yield: Serves 6

  • 16 oz pappardelle noodles
  • 2 T avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil, more if needed
  • 2 large shallots, finely chopped
  • 7 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/4 cup of freshly chopped parsley, plus more for garnish, if desired
  • 4 oz shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned, and sliced
  • 8 oz cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 10 oz button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 oz creme fraiche
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 T potato starch
  • 1 T fresh chives, sliced into small pieces to sprinkle over the finished dish, if desired
  • freshly grated parmesan, for serving, if desired
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt.
  2. While the water is heating, heat oil in a large sauté pan. Add the shallots and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook gently on a medium heat for about 5 more minutes, or until mushrooms are lightly browned. Add the parsley.
  3. Add the creme fraiche and half & half. Add the potato starch and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and gently simmer for about 10 minutes or until it has thickened and reduced somewhat. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Cook the pasta in the salted boiling water according to package directions, then drain fully. Combine with mushroom sauce. Serve immediately garnished with freshly chopped parsley and/or chives and freshly grated Parmesan, if desired.


One Year Ago:

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