Our Favorite Fungi

Long before growing your own food was all the rage, we would hear about the local Pacific Northwesterners foraging for morels. Morels are those spongy looking mushrooms that you can find at the market for a short time during late spring and early summer. They're well known for their strong earthy flavor and high nutrition content. We love them in soup and wanted to share one of our favorite morel recipes with you!

Morel Soup
(serves 4)
3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup finely chopped shallots
1 medium clove garlic, finely minced
1 cup light chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 cups milk
a pinch of kosher salt
1 pound of mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped (yellow morels are our favorites, although you can use any fresh mushrooms that are available in your area). Reserve a few thin slices for garnish, if you like.
a generous teaspoon fresh sage, finely minced
a pinch of dried thyme leaves 
2 to 3 teaspoons dry sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream
fresh lemon juice to taste
snipped fresh chives, for garnish 

Melt the butter in a 3 1/2 quart heavy sauce over medium heat, whisk in the flour until smooth.  Cook for a minute or two then add the shallots and garlic.  Stir well and continue to cook another 2 minutes; take care not to brown the mixture.  Add the stock and milk and bring the mixture to a simmer.  Cook gently, stirring all the while, until the liquid thickens.  Season with salt to taste.  Add the morels, chopped sage, thyme, and sherry.  Simmer gently, partially covered, until the morels are completely tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.  Puree the soup in a blender (take care to cover the lid with a towel just in case of an eruption of hot soup).  If you prefer a very fine texture, strain the soup through a fine sieve.  Return the soup to the rinsed-out soup pot and reheat.  Add the cream, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and salt to taste.  Ladle into soup bowls or mugs and top with additional morel slices (you can leave them raw for a little variation in texture or saute them quickly just before serving).  Sprinkle on a few snipped chives and serve.



recipe from The Devil's Food Advocate.

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