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Two Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Everyone has their immediate yes foods. When I'm dining out or just stepping away from the office to grab some lunch to go, if the daily soup on the menu is cream of mushroom I will order it. You really don't need to tell me what other soups are available because it's a yes to the mushroom. Every time.

That's why I'm excited to share this new recipe for a creamy mushroom soup with crunchy, cheesy croutons. It's robust and filling enough to make a meal, with loads of deep and earthy mushroom flavour. 

The soup starts by browning a thinly sliced onion under a heap of fresh mushrooms. The temptation to stir while the onions are browning is strong, but if you restrain yourself as the recipe suggests, you'll be rewarded with the most beautifully browned onion and mushroom aroma and flavour. The extra mushroom goodness comes from soaking dried porcini mushrooms in boiling water to create a dark and delicious broth for the soup. You can find packages of dried mushrooms in the produce department of most grocery stores.

Although this is a new recipe from me, I am already confident it will become a classic in my kitchen that I'll make again and again. You can get the easy recipe below. I hope it becomes a classic in your kitchen too.

Two Mushroom Soup with Parmesan Croutons

Serves 4-6

For the soup:
1 package (14 g) dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 lb (450 g) fresh white or cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp (30 mL) white wine
1/3 cup (75 mL) all-purpose flour
1 box (946 mL) chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 tsp (2 mL) dried thyme
1 tsp (5 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) black pepper
1 cup (250 mL) half and half cream

For the croutons:
2 tbsp (30 mL) olive oil
3 slices of fresh or day-old bakery bread (any kind), cubed
2 tsp (10 mL) grated parmesan

Soup directions:
Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a heat-proof container or bowl. Pour three cups of boiling water over the mushrooms and set aside to soak.

Warm the olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced onion and cover with the fresh mushrooms. Allow to cook for 10 minutes without stirring. Stir and cook another five minutes. At this point you can set aside a small amount of mushrooms as a garnish if you wish (optional). 

Pour in the white wine and stir with a wooden spoon, scraping any brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the flour and stir well to coat. Pour in the porcini mushrooms and soaking liquid, as well as the chicken or vegetable stock. Add the thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and allow to bubble away for a minute or two to thicken slightly. Turn off the heat.

Puree using an immersion blender right in the pot, or by ladling into a traditional blender (if using a traditional blender, you will need to work in batches). Add the cream to the soup and heat through over medium heat until hot. Remove from the heat.

Croutons directions:
Warm the oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the cubed bread and cook, turning often, until golden (usually 2-3 minutes, but it can depend on the type of bread). Remove from the heat. Add the parmesan to a bowl. Toss the croutons in the parmesan and serve on top of the hot soup with any reserved mushrooms as a garnish.