Thursday, November 30, 2006

Porcini Cream Soup with Parmesan - Christmas Starter



On the first week of Christmas, Meeta made for me - a Porcini cream soup!

Exactly four weeks to go till Christmas. Are you ready?

Well I thought every week till Christmas, I would premier a recipe as a Christmas meal idea. Not necessarily traditional, but something that I hope will delight you into giving something new and different a go this year.

Today I present a wonderful, light, creamy and most important, easy to prepare soup as a starter. I picked up a lovely old magazine from a friend's place and while browsing through it I found this wonderful recipe.


Porcini
Porcini in Italian, Boletus Edulis in Latin, Steinpilze in German and Cèpe in French, these are truly one of God's many gifts to us. It is a meaty, rich and strong mushroom, however delicate and versatile to give any dish from a stew/soup to a thick steak the perfect flavor.

These mushrooms are so perfect that they even look just like mushrooms do in fairy tales. They are widely available in markets around the world either fresh or dried.

When buying fresh porcini make sure they have velvety white stalks and firm brown caps. They should not be broken or nipped. A yellowish-brown color under the caps indicate that they might be a bit over-ripe and black spots on top or a deep green color under the caps show that they have arrived. Older and not perfectly fresh porcini might even have worms in them, so make sure you look out for those.

Never wash these in water when not absolutely necessary. Instead use a damp paper towel and rub off any dirt you see.

Dried Porcini have a strong mushroomy aroma and work magic when making sauces or soups. In risottos these mushrooms add the finest flavor I have ever tasted. When buying dried porcini make sure they are not crumbly as this would indicate that they are rather old. Your best bet would be to buy them in jars. If you can open the jar before purchasing and take a sniff. You should get a deep and rich woody, mushroomy aroma. If there is nothing, then they will taste like nothing too.

Dried porcini are soaked in hot water for about 20-30 minutes until they have expanded. Reserving the liquid drain them well. Now you can use these for several different dishes.

So, an elegant soup as a starter to a wonderful meal, made of these luxurious mushrooms is a promising way to kick off your evening. Your guests will be left licking their spoons and you'll be chuckling thinking "That was an easy one!"



Music while cooking:

Chris Cornell - You know my name
Casino Royale Soundtrack - If you have not seen this movie yet then leave everything standing right now and go to the movies. Brilliant Bond film and a sexy Daniel Craig make an explosive combination.

Music and Artwork courtesy iTunes






Ingredients:

20g dried Porcini
1 large onion - finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 l white wine
250 g cream
40 g Parmesan - grated
Handful of chives - chopped
Salt and pepper





Method:

In approx. 3/4 l of hot water, soak the dried Porcini for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the onions. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine, cream and the Porcini liquid, while constantly stirring, to avoid any lumps. Add the mushrooms, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.

Take most of the mushrooms out of the soup and with an electric beater or mixer, whisk the soup until smooth and creamy. Put the Porcini mushrooms back into the soup. Salt and pepper to taste

Pour into warm soup plates and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives.

My Tip:

Instead of pouring all the cream into the soup reserve half of it. Whisk until thick and gently fold the beaten cream into the soup. This makes the consistence of the soup fluffy and light.



Verdict:
Easy wasn't it? That is why it is perfect as a starter for any festive occasion. It is a creamy and aromatic soup. The mushrooms stand out and with the Parmesan it becomes a elegant and fine tasting dish. Here the flavors linger on the tongue long enough for your guests to come to the realization that THIS was just the beginning of a great meal to come.




Perfect idea for Sara's great theme for Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Party Food.




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16 comments :

  1. ummmmmm....... I can smell it even till here. ;).... perfect recipe for a cold festive season!!

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  2. Oh, Meeta that sounds so good. I especially like the part about the guests licking their spoons and I'd be saying that was an easy one. Don't we all need more of that at this time.
    And you sure are right on about the movie!

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  3. Excellent starter for Christmas:))

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  4. Cute idea on the '12 days of Christmas' theme :)

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  5. Man! Does that look good! And so simple. Thanks for the recipe Meeta.

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  6. Thanx Meeta for enligtening me once again about an Ingredient and this time it is these Porcini Mushrooms. I'll definitely try out this one since I love mushrooms. i even tried out those other ones called Chantrelle ,wasn't it? I loved them

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  7. It sounds very tasty Meeta, I'd love to have some for lunch today...

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  8. Meeta,
    thanks for the tip of choosing and handling dried Porcini (which is easier for me to get in here)... now I know why my last porcini risotto had no taste.
    Beautiful setting for your soup, I really like it!

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  9. Kalyn It really was. The Porcini has such a lovely strong aroma that the soup tasted perfected.

    Rooma Yes it is. I specially like it not only because it tastes great but when you have a house full of guests and hungry mouths this is so easy and quick to prepare.

    Tanna Yes we certainly need to make things a little easier. But no need to cut down on the taste. Casino Royale was a brilliant movie and I fell in love with Daniel Craig ;-)

    Asha Thank you!

    Jeff You figured it! Clever.

    Sally You are welcome.

    Anu Oh that does make me happy that these informative bits are in good. I want to share interesting ingredients with my readers who might not have really come across it. I am so glad that you like to experiement Anu!

    Ilva Being in Italy I think it should not to be much of a problem getting porcini. Let me know if you do make it.

    Gattina While the fresh ones are really lovely, I often buy the dried ones too. They seem to have a stringer, rounder aroma and flavor. Thank you for your comments

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  10. Hey Meeta, you know what Iwent to the fruit market today with the intention of buying persimmon. The price was 4 for a pound. I first picked up 4 and then I suddenly remembered your cake and faintly remembered that it needed 5 to 6 fruit. So there! I bought another 4. But I wish now I bought a dozen atleast since Dev has been devouring them since we got home. Hope I have some left for the cake.

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  11. Sounds amazingly good babes, and Im a sucker for mushrooms! Just scared of the cream, but no problem, will find an apt replacement, or take your route of a small portion size, or better still serve it to non-calorie-conscious friends :)

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  12. Meeta made this for me! I'm so excited. It's warming me up already!

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  13. OMG does that sound wonderful! And as always, such a wonderfully and informative written post! Thank you, sweetie :D

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  14. This is definitely on the menu for dinner tonight!

    Thanks for sharing a great recipe and a stunning photo.

    I'll definitely be back often...especially now that I'll link to your site.

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  15. i had this for thanksgiving 2weeks ago and can not get it off my mind!!!!!
    tim

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta