cook's illustrated mushroom bisque

1 lb white mushrooms
8 oz cremini mushrooms
8 oz shiitake mushrooms
1 tbsp salt
use French grey salt if available
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small onion
chopped fine
1 sprig fresh thyme
tied with kitchen twine
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp dry sherry
4 cups water
3 1/2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup heavy cream
plus extra for serving
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper
to taste
heavy cream
for garnish
fresh chives
This soup is so comforting and earthy. The technique is brilliant and the taste is amazing! The recipe involves a few different phases and different types of equipment, but for us, the trouble is totally worth it since the taste is so delicious! We freeze leftovers to make easy meals for our two-year-old daughter.
If you're using frozen homemade chicken broth, unmold a quart and warm it in a pot to thaw. De-stem the shiitakes (save the stems for broth) and trim and rinse all the mushrooms, keeping them whole.
Toss the mushrooms and salt in a large, microwave-safe bowl. Cover with a plate and microwave for a total of 12 minutes, but microwave them in 4-minute increments and stir the mushrooms in between each break. The mushrooms will release their liquid and shrink.
Insert a colander into a large glass measuring cup (2 quarts or larger). Drain the mushrooms and collect the mushroom water.
Preheat the dutch oven and vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the mushrooms when the oil is hot. Cook for a total of 8 minutes. Stir every 2-3 minutes.
Add the onion, thyme, and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes until the onions are soft.
Add the sherry and cook until evaporated.
Add the mushroom liquid and stir in the fond (browned bits of mushroom) from the bottom of the pot.
Measure out the water and the broth in the large measuring glass. Stir in the water and the broth and bring the mixture to a simmer. Bump the heat down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove the thyme sprig. Working across 2-3 batches, transfer the soup to the blender and process until smooth. Pour the first 1-2 batches into the large measuring glass. Pour the last batch, along with the previously blended batches, back into the dutch oven. Stir to combine.
If you wish to store the soup and finish the final processing separately, the soup will keep in the fridge in this state for up to 2 days. Make sure to heat the soup up to 150°F before proceeding with the next steps.
In a medium measuring glass, measure out the cream and add the yolks. Whisk to combine, then slowly mix in 2 cups of the hot soup into mixture.
Pour the cream/yolk/soup mixture into the soup pot and stir and gently cook until the soup's temperature reaches 165°F.
Mix in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper only if needed.
Serve immediately. Garnish each serving with 1 teaspoon of cream and chopped chives.
source: the November-December 2014 issue of Cook's Illustrated
While we often make this soup when entertaining, we like it so much that we'll often make it for ourselves. Since we're a family of 3, we prep the soup up to step 10, then reserve half of the soup base to enjoy later in the week. We finish the remaining soup with 1 yolk, half the cream, and 1 cup of soup, then finish the rest of the soup later in the week with the same quantities of yolk, cream, and soup.