Cream of Mushroom Soup with Trumpet Royale
- 1/2 teaspoon anise or fennel seed
- 1 1/2 cups finely diced Trumpet Royale mushrooms, about one 8 oz. package
- 1/4 cup minced shallot or a generous 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion.
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock or water
- bouquet garni (two bay leaves, a few sprigs of thyme and several sprigs of fresh parsley tied with a piece of string)
- 3 Tablespoons butter
- 3 Tablespoons flour
- 1 cup milk or half-and-half
- Put the fennel seed in the bottom of a dry, heavy bottomed pan and place over low heat. The seeds will toast as the pan warms. When you can smell the licorice aroma and the seeds have just begun to brown a little, add the butter. When the foam subsides, add the mushroom and shallot or onion and raise the heat to medium. Stir frequently as onions and mushrooms cook together. When they are quite soft, add the water or stock and the bouquet garni. Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the bouquet garni. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.
- In a separate pan melt 3 tablespoons butter and when the foam subsides, stir in 3 tablespoons of flour. Keep heat at low or medium and cook for 3 or four minutes, stirring to check the color. The flour should cook, but you don't want the mixture to brown. This is what the French would call a blond roux.
- Combine one cup of cold milk (or half-and-half) with one cup of the mushroom stock above. You don't have to strain out the mushrooms.
- Stir this mixture into the roux, and whisk vigorously to blend all the roux into the liquid, as this comes back to the simmer it will begin to thicken. As it does so, add more of the mushrooms and their stock until all is used.
- A final seasoning with salt and pepper and your soup is ready to serve.
Trumpet Royale is a great mushroom for classic Cream of Mushroom Soup. These mushrooms are easy to handle so you can cut them into a fine dice the way French chefs do. First cut slabs of mushroom lengthwise, about 1/8 inch thick. Then cut these slabs into little sticks: julienne. Cut these crosswise into fine dice. Voila!
The addition of fennel or anise seed creates a unique but not overpowering flavor which complements the mushrooms. The soup is also very good with Maitake Frondosa, which will give it a heartier flavor. Maitake is the opposite of Trumpet Royale as far as handling, since it grows in unruly bunches that look more like coral than a mushroom, but the Maitake can be chopped very easily. Just pretend it's a bunch of parsley and chop away.