Friday, August 1, 2008

Taming of the 'Shroom

Yes, soup in August! Blame it on the fact that my yoga studio is always hovering around about 5°C, cold enough to send even the warmest-blooded people in search on a sweater. Or chalk it up to my irresistible desire for mushrooms - an umami craving brought on by Michael Smith's steak for one episode, or the unending Kikkoman commercials on TV. Either way, I knew what was going to play the starring role in my lunch yesterday!

I had stumbled onto the concept of this full-bodied puree while browsing the website for fellow Torontonian Chef Michael Bonacini's restaurant group (which he runs with partner Peter Oliver). The franchise includes the popular (and pricey!) restaurants Canoe, Jump, and Biff's Bistro among others, and one of the things that struck me as unique (not to mention AWESOME) on a lot of their menus was this particular soup. Advertised as having no butter or cream, the Oliver & Bonancini mushroom soup (also called the Wild & Tame Mushroom Soup) is an exotic combination of earthy flavours that doesn't let anything else get in the way. To me, it is what a mushroom soup should be in it's purest form, and you can customize it to your whim based on whatever fungi happens to be available.

For instance, this pot full of goodness which serves four (four? Um, yeah... I ate it all... 4 servings for your average person, or 1 serving for me [AKA The Pig]) took advantage of oyster, shiitake, cremini and white button mushrooms, making for a rich and almost meaty puree with delicate and almost "seafoody" notes from the oyster 'shrooms poking through. I have dried porcini and morels in my cupboard too, though, so I'll have to remember those for next time! I also took advantage of the stock my garden gave to me this summer, and used a fresh-pulled spring onion and snipped garlic chives in place of the half sweet onion and herbs in the given recipe. I am very pleased with the result - being a garlic freak I added freshly-ground garlic pepper at the end of cooking (thank you SpiceDepot!) instead of the regular black stuff - apparently 4 cloves of garlic plus garlic chives weren't enough for me!

The best part about this pot o' greatness (besides the flavour, of course) is that the WHOLE RECIPE is under 120 calories and 1g of fat! Of course, this is a huge plus if you are a volume eater like... well... me.

But enough about me. Onto the umami!

Wild & Tame Mushroom Soup
Serves 4
1/2 large, sweet onion, diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 sprig fresh thyme, chopped
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped
2 1/2 cups (6.5oz) assorted mushrooms, chopped (rehydrate any dried ones in boiling water)
2 cups water
2 cups mushroom stock
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. In a large, non-stick pot, saute onions, garlic and herbs in 1/3 - 1/2 cup water until onions are translucent.
  2. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, 10 minutes. Add the water and stock, cook 20 minutes, uncovered.
  3. If using an immersion blender, puree in pot. Otherwise, allow to cool slightly, then puree in batches in a blender before returning to pot and reheating.
  4. Season to taste before serving.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 29.2
Total Fat: 0.2 g
Cholesterol: 0.0 mg
Sodium: 472.9 mg
Total Carbs: 5.6 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g
Protein: 1.8 g

1 comment :

eileen said...

well, I for one definitely want soup in summer, and yours looks great!