Recipe First Impressions: Wild Mushroom and Farro Soup

dscf4060This week I take you with me as I fumble through a recipe for Wild Mushroom and Farro Soup that actually turned out quite well. This recipe made enough for 2.5 meals for Sean and I, and was a slam dunk. Follow along here.

1. Wash and peel the produce.

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I have to say, I’m not usually this good at prepping all of the ingredients ahead of time, but this time, photos were at stake. Usually I’ll skim the recipe and wash/chop things while other things are cooking.

I’d also like to introduce you all to my knife of choice, the cleaver. For a long time, this was the only knife I owned other than butter knives – I would even peel vegetables and zest lemons with it. I did get a vegetable peeler eventually, and no, I do not regret it.

2. Chop everything 🙂

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The recipe calls for 3 cups of onions (2 onions). My two fat onions were the equivalent of about 6 cups of onions once chopped – and I still have a huge bowl of onions set aside for another time. On the other hand, I had some really wimpy celery, and had to add three more stalks. Moral of the story: measure your ingredients! The mushrooms were fine – I weighed them out at the store when I bought them 🙂

I also want to mention that we substituted bacon for pancetta. We almost always have bacon in our fridge, and the smokiness added another dimension to the flavor of the soup, and definitely didn’t detract.

3. Soak the dried mushrooms in boiling water.

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One of the reasons I chose this recipe was that we already had dried mushrooms in the pantry we never think to use. Here we have about half-and-half chanterelles and porcini.

4. Saute the vegetables and pork.

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Easy. Veggies and bacon into an oiled dutch oven, which has just about become my favorite pot that we own. I totally didn’t time this – I’m much more of an “until tender” kind of person than a “10 minutes” kind of person. It turned out fine.

5. Add farro and garlic, and then mushrooms and wine/beer.

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Around this time I realized that every single white wine in the house was sweet and disgusting. (The recipe calls for a dry Marsala wine, which I didn’t feel like buying for this recipe.) I didn’t want to use a red wine and change the color of the soup, so I went with this Abbey Ale Dubbel, a light spiced beer.

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6. Chop and add the wild mushrooms, liquid, and seasoning.

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I couldn’t find our cheesecloth, so I used a mesh strainer and chopsticks to remove the mushrooms from the soaking liquid. You’re only removing them to chop them, so honestly it doesn’t matter if small bits are left in the pot. Besides, are you really going to wash that cheesecloth when you’re done with it? I also didn’t tie up the thyme because we don’t have kitchen twine. Besides, I’m lazy.

The mushrooms post-straining don’t look particularly appetizing, but they smelled amazing, like a savory, smoky forest floor. If you think about it, a forest floor is what these mushrooms have been eating, and as they say, you are what you eat.

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7. Set the timer and watch YouTube while the soup simmers.

8-10. Add flour, butter, cream, and more alcohol. Sprinkle with parsley. Drool and eat.

I did not have room temperature butter – a result of not reading ahead + getting distracted by YouTube. As a fix, I mashed the flour and butter together as much as I could, and then added a ladle of hot soup to the bowl to gently melt the butter. (I didn’t want to overheat it int he microwave.) It worked out quite well, and we didn’t have any flour-y lumps in the soup.

I also substituted sour cream for creme fraiche, because if you’re shopping for it instead of making your own, creme fraiche can be much more expensive. (If you want to make your own, it’s easy. Just mix a spoonful of unflavored yogurt into heavy cream, and let sit in the fridge for a few days. I did not plan ahead, obviously.)

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Post-parsley, the soup looks delicious and smells amazing. Dinner is served. (Sean did the dishes.) This is going on our list of go-to recipes. Bon appetit!

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Blog post written by Mengsha.

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