This rich mushroom soup tastes like it has a cream base and is as smooth as velvet. But the only fat is a bit of olive oil used to sauté the mushrooms. Unabashedly rich in flavor, it is light yet full-bodied.

The secret is the homemade chicken stock. I have tried making it with the best commercial stocks, organic and expensive, as well as standard off the shelf canned variety. The soup is still good, but to take it to the higher octaves with full range, homemade stock is best. (Following the recipe is my simple method for making chicken stock)

This recipe serves 4
Be sure to do periodic taste tests as the flavor-impact of the ingredients can vary, and adjust quantities to taste.

2 cups sliced portabella mushrooms
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Salt, to taste
Dash Allspice
½ c Sauterne
( if you can't find Sauterne, I have used Trader Joe's Moscato from Paso Robles)
1 1/2 cups homemade chicken stock
1 clove garlic chopped finely

Sour Cream or Crème Fraiche for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan large enough to hold all the mushrooms. Sauté with salt and allspice, and garlic. Add the Sauterne and cook until the mushrooms are soft and black.

Put the mushrooms in a food processor and purée. When the mushrooms are fully puréed, gradually add chicken stock. It should be the consistency of thinnish pea soup. Don't add all the stock if you don't need to. Stop adding when the desired consistency is achieved.

Heat through just before serving. Garnish with a swirl of sour cream or crème fraiche.

Simple, Rich Chicken Stock

This is a very simple process and I am not sure why many people are intimidated by making their own stock. Simply put the chicken parts on the stove and cook, taking them out and reduce the liquid. Then pour the liquid through a fine strainer, put it in the refrigerator and then next day spoon off the congealed fat. Very easy.

Depending on how much you make, it takes about an hour of slow simmering on the stove. You don't have to attend to it, just let it sit on the back burner while you cook or watch TV.

I make stock using only chicken parts, never adding vegetables or spices. I like my stock pure and add flavor according to how I will use it later, making a large batch and freezing it in small plastic bags. I get chicken backs from a local butcher, but any parts will do. If you use pieces with meat, such as breast and thighs, be doubly sure to cook it on a gentle heat so that the meat will remain tender. Do not trim the fat before making stock as it enriches the flavor, then remove all fat once it is cooled.

(NOTE: Use homemade chicken stock as the liquid base for polenta, it's heavenly! )

Step 1:
Put chicken parts in a large pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer for at least an hour. If using breasts or thighs remove them once the meat is cooked.

Step 2:
Remove chicken from the stock and reduce the liquid by 50%

Step 3:
Pour the liquid through a fine strainer or for a purer stock, line the strainer with cheesecloth. Let cool.

Step 4:
Refrigerate the stock overnight. The cooled fat will coagulate on the surface and is easy to remove with a large spoon. The stock will be gelled. Spoon it into freezer bags. Can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months.

Taken from the Portabella Mushroom Chapter of my upcoming book, Make It Sing Cuisine

The concept of my new book (in progress) Make It Sing Cuisine, evolved from my experience of working for the past 16 years in Africa as a designer for indigenous artisans. In any exotic language or culture where I lived, I discovered that people could understand the concept of transforming their products from ordinary to exceptional simply by asking them, "How can you make it SING?" Everyone on the planet understands the idea of and the joy inherent in singing. Now I am applying that same idea to cooking.

After returning to the US and rediscovering the pleasure of cooking in America, with supermarkets, stoves and an abundance of produce and other foodstuffs, I was inspired to write my book. I love cooking and creativity and I hope the blog and book will inspire the same in you.

Before moving overseas I worked for over 15 years in the culinary field in various restaurants on both coasts. I was also a caterer working in the homes of senators, diplomats, mayors, artists, actors, and executives.

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