Ina Garten’s Wild Mushroom & Farro Soup

Wow. I absolutely loved this earthy, rich, and full-flavored soup. I doubled the recipe to freeze a batch to serve for lunch on Thanksgiving Day. (I trusted Ina Garten enough to double the recipe the first time I made it!) 🙂

This recipe is from Ina Garten’s Make it Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, via thekitchn.com. I increased the amount of garlic and incorporated homemade turkey stock. I served it with sliced sourdough baguette and green salad dressed with mustard vinaigrette. Wonderful.

Yield: Serves 6
  • 1 1/2 oz dried wild mushrooms, such as morels or porcini
  • 3 T good olive oil
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
  • 2 cups (1/4-inch-diced) peeled carrots (3 to 4 carrots)
  • 2 cups (1/4-inch-diced) celery (3 to 5 stalks)
  • 6 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 3/4 cup pearled farro (5 ounces)
  • 12 oz fresh cremini mushrooms, cleaned, stems discarded, 1/4-inch-sliced
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 T dry Marsala wine, divided
  • 1 quart chicken, turkey, or beef stock
  • 3 large sprigs fresh thyme, tied together with kitchen twine
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 2 T unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 4 oz crème fraĂ®che
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
  1. Place the dried mushrooms and 6 cups of water in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and set aside for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta, onions, carrots, and celery and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the garlic and farro and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the cremini mushrooms and the 1/2 cup Marsala and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, until the mushrooms have released some of their liquid.
  5. Meanwhile, strain the dried mushrooms through cheesecloth, reserving the liquid.
  6. Coarsely chop the mushrooms and add them to the pot, along with the strained soaking liquid, beef broth, thyme, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper.
  7. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer partially covered for 45 minutes, until the farro is tender. Discard the thyme bundle.
  8. In a small bowl, mash together the flour and butter and stir into the hot soup. Simmer for 5 minutes, then stir in the crème fraîche and remaining 2 tablespoons of Marsala, and taste for seasonings.
  9. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve hot.

Note: Be sure to buy “pearled” farro; regular farro takes much longer to cook.

Make ahead: Prepare the soup completely. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for up to 3 months. Reheat before serving.

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:

Fresh & Wild Mushroom Stew

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This is a delicious and intensely flavorful vegetarian stew- hearty when served over pasta or polenta as well. We ate it over whole wheat pappardelle but I think I would have preferred it over polenta. Next time! 🙂 This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by David Tanis. I used the leftover wild mushroom broth in a Broccoli Spinach Puree- yum.

I am bringing this earthy and elegant dish to share with my friends at Fiesta Friday #45 at the Novice Gardener. Enjoy!

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

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For the Stew:

  • 1 ½ pounds, 24 oz, cultivated brown mushrooms, like shiitake, cremini or portobello
  • ½ pound pale wild mushrooms, like chanterelle (or use King trumpet or oyster)(I used shiitakes instead)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped sage or rosemary
  • Pinch red pepper flakes or cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 small ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or 20 grape tomatoes (not peeled)
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups wild mushroom broth, heated, or use chicken broth, or more to adjust consistency (recipe follows)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • pasta such as whole wheat pappardelle or polenta, for serving, optional

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  1. Clean mushrooms, keeping colors separate, and trim tough stems. (Save stems for stock.) Slice mushrooms about 1/8-inch thick.
  2. In a wide skillet, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Add onion, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring, until onion has softened and browned, about 10 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add 1 more tablespoon oil and turn heat to high. Add brown mushrooms (I added all of my mushrooms because I used shiitakes instead of pale wild mushrooms.), season lightly and stir-fry until nicely colored, about 3 minutes.
  4. Lower heat to medium. Add thyme, sage, red pepper and tomato paste. Add tomatoes, stir well, and cook for 1 minute. Season again with salt and pepper.
  5. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon flour, stir to incorporate and cook for 1 minute more. Stir in reserved onions.
  6. Add 1 cup mushroom broth and stir until thickened, about 1 minute. Gradually add 1 more cup broth and cook for 2 minutes. Sauce should have gravy-like consistency; thin with more broth if necessary. Adjust seasoning. (May be prepared to this point several hours ahead and reheated.)
  7. If using pale wild mushrooms: Just before serving, put butter and 1 tablespoon olive in wide skillet over medium high heat. When butter begins to brown, add chanterelles, season with salt and pepper, and sauté for about 2 minutes, until cooked through and beginning to brown.
  8. To finish the dish: Add garlic and parsley, stir to coat and cook 1 minute more. Add chanterelles, if using, to brown mushroom mixture and transfer to a warm serving bowl. Accompany with polenta or pasta if you wish.

For the Wild Mushroom Broth:

Yield: about 3 cups

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  • .88 oz mixed wild dried mushrooms or ÂĽ cup crumbled dry porcini (about 4 grams)
  • 1 small onion or shallot, sliced
  • 6 scallions, roughly chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  1. Put all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cover with 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
  2. Strain. Broth may be made in advance and will keep a week, refrigerated.

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One Year Ago:

Mushroom, Spinach, Barley, & Bacon Soup

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My brother gave me Ottolenghi’s “Plenty” for Christmas- it was on my wish list. To be silly he gave it to me with another cookbook titled “Bacon Nation”! The funniest part of this story is that I tried a recipe from “Bacon Nation” first. 🙂 This soup was ultra-flavorful, hearty, and LOADED with mushrooms. The spinach and carrots gave an otherwise “brown” soup a wonderful pop of color. The house smelled divine as it cooked too! This recipe was adapted from Bacon Nation by Peter Kaminsky & Marie Rama.

Yield: Serves 8 to 10

  • 8 slices thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces (I used nitrate-free)
  • 2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
  • 24 oz cremini mushrooms, wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 10 oz white button mushrooms,  wiped clean, stems trimmed, and sliced into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • .88 oz mixed dried wild mushrooms (including porcini, shiitake, black, & oyster mushrooms)
  • 6 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 T dry sherry, divided
  • 8 cups stock (I used 4 cups homemade Turkey Stock, and 4 cups boxed chicken stock)
  • 4 large carrots, trimmed, peeled, and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups pearl barley (I used par-cooked barley from Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tsp fresh thyme leaves, or 2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 6 oz baby spinach

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  1. Cook the bacon in a soup pot or large saucepan over medium heat until browned but not too crisp and most of the fat is rendered, 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often and adjusting the heat as necessary.
  2. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat until it begins to soften, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Stir in the fresh and dried mushrooms and the garlic and cook until the mushrooms release their liquid, 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. IMG_7324
  4. Add 6 T of the sherry and let boil for about 1 minute to reduce the liquid slightly.
  5. Stir in the stock, carrots, barley, bay leaf, and 3 cups water. Cover the pot and let the soup come to a boil. Then, reduce the heat as necessary and let the soup simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the barley is barely tender, 35 to 40 minutes for standard barley, 15-20 minutes for par-cooked barley. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the thyme and the remaining 6 T sherry and let simmer until the flavors blend, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the spinach, increase the heat to high, cover the pot, and cook the spinach until just wilted, about 1 minute. Remove and discard the bay leaf before serving the soup.

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One Year Ago:

If you like this you may also like:

Mushroom, Leek, & Wild Rice Soup

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This is an earthy and elegant soup adapted from Martha Stewart Living. It uses a combination of assorted fresh mushrooms as well as dried mushrooms to give it a rich and complex flavor. I used fresh cremini, portobello, and shiitake mushrooms, but button or chanterelles could also be used. The bunch of beautiful leeks from my CSA share were also part of this lovely dish. I sautéed the leeks in red wine rather than sherry. We ate it with crusty sourdough bread and green salad.

Yield: Serves 6 to 8

  • .25 oz dried porcini or dried portobello mushrooms (for 2 T powder- instructions below)
  • 1 cup wild rice
  • 1 tsp coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, sliced into bite-sized pieces (such as button, cremini, shiitake (stems removed), & chanterelle)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 T unsalted butter
  • 6 leeks (white and pale-green parts only), quartered and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup sherry, Madeira, Port, or red wine
  • 6 T light soy sauce
  • 2 quarts homemade or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1/4 to 3/4 cup heavy cream or half & half
  • 2 T finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus more for garnish
  1. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and wild rice. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Drain; set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, make the dried mushroom powder. In a spice mill or coffee grinder, pulse the dried mushrooms to a fine powder. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.
  3. In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Add half the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper. Cook until browned and tender, about 7 minutes; transfer to a bowl. Repeat with the remaining oil and mushrooms.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Melt butter; add leeks. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in 2 T of mushroom powder; cook 1 minute. Add sherry and soy sauce; cook 1 minute more.
  5. Add stock to pot; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 20 minutes. Stir in wild rice, cream (or half & half), and parsley; adjust seasoning, and serve. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

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