A Vegetarian Times magazine I have (from September 2007) says the "wild" mushroom in this soup is really just the porcini; the other mushrooms are cultivated species. I've actually never seen fresh porcini mushrooms. Have you? ... I realized while making this soup that I didn't make the fried sage quite the way it was supposed to be in this pumpkin soup recipe. I fried it a little too long, so it smoked and was quite dark when I ate it. It still tasted fantastic, though, but just frying the sage long enough -- until the oil stopped bubbling, about 1-2 minutes -- was plenty. The leaves were still crispy, and they looked much nicer. A dark green. (I have to say, the sage butter garnish on the pumpkin soup was so good, it's the reason I decided to try this mushroom soup recipe. The sage got my attention.)
I really love the croutons here. The recipe calls for French bread, and the simple mix of sage oil, salt, and pepper. Bake them just long enough, and they are super yummy, and subtle in flavor.
Wild mushroom soup with sage croutons (serves 6)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped
1.5 pounds fresh mushrooms, such as button, cremini, and shiitake, sliced (I used button and baby bellas, which I think are the same as cremini)
1/4 cup dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water 30 minutes, then drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
3 cups low-sodium veggie broth
2 cups water
optional: 1.5 cups whole or soy milk (This is my add-in. I like that somewhat creamy consistency, plus the soy milk adds a little sweetness that I think is needed here.)
12 sage leaves
salt and pepper (I think this needs LOTS of salt!)
6 slices French bread (each about 2-inches thick), cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1.) Heat 1 tablespoon oil in soup pot over medium-high heat. Saute the onion for about 7 minutes, then stir in all the mushrooms. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2.) Add garlic, lemon zest, and thyme, and cook 1 minute.
3.) Stir in vinegar, and simmer about 3 minutes, or until liquid is evaporated.
4.) Add broth and water, and milk if using, as well as plenty of salt and pepper. Bring to a boil.
5.) Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.
6.) Cool for 20 minutes, then puree in a food processor or with a hand blender.
7.) Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in sauce pan over medium-high heat. Fry sage leaves 1-2 minutes, or until bubbling subsides. Remove leaves from oil and put aside.
8.) Toss the sage oil with the bread cubes and add salt and pepper, to taste. Bake on a baking sheet at 350 degrees for 15-17 minutes, or until golden.
9.) Serve soup garnished with croutons and fried sage.