Cream of Morel Mushroom Soup


Wow, where to begin! These lovely Ascocarps known under many aliases such as: morchella, dryland-fish, hickory chickens, merkels and miracles are unlike any other mushroom on the planet in regards to its flavor profile. Mother Nature managed a wonderful mash-up of what many, including myself, look for in a shroom that separates it from garden variety status to truly gourmet. These delectable little morsels are simultaneously earthy, woodsy, meaty and succulent. They impart such a unique flavor, so unlike any other mushroom, I would rate them right up there with Truffles for how they can transform a dish from something great into something truly magical.

The biggest hurdle to overcome with morels isn’t in the preparation or finding a recipe; it’s finding them in the first place. Being notoriously fickle about when and where they grow, paired with a ridiculously short season, makes finding fresh morels extremely difficult to nearly impossible unless you harvest them yourself or are willing to pay big bucks online.

Though nothing can compare to a freshly picked morel, they can be had at reasonable prices dried. The trick is letting them soak just long without allowing them to get too soggy or mushy. If you under soak, the “bite” will be like that of underdone pasta, get it right and you will be rewarded with a re-hydrated morel that will rival a fresh one, ready to be sautéed with white wine, real butter and then savored as a true delicacy.

Waste not want not; always save your soaking liquid, de-glaze your pans, save the stems, broken pieces and even the dust if they were dried. It’s amazing what a little morel infused olive oil can do to a simple pasta dish or crusty bread, what a few stems, bits and pieces added to a braise or roast can do to instill a hint of something special, or how that soaking liquid you saved and used in lieu of canned stock takes a soup or stew to the next level.

Above all else, have some fun, be creative and allow your food imagination to thrive. If you haven’t had morels before do yourself a favor and give them a try, if you are a mushroom lover you will not be disappointed. If you hate mushrooms, this just might be the one that changes your mind about fungi.

Cream of Morel Mushroom

1lb fresh or re-hydrated Morel mushrooms
3 medium russet potatoes
2 leeks
2 cups milk
2 cups half & half
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbs low sodium chicken base
1 Tbs olive oil
3 Tbs butter

If using dried Morels, soak in 2 cups milk for 1 to 2 hours, reserve 1 cup of the soaking liquid for later making sure not to get any grit that will be at the bottom of the container you used. Once hydrated, quarter the Morels. Split leeks lengthwise removing base and hard green leaves, run under cold water to remove any grit/dirt. Dry the leeks and rough chop, split and quarter potatoes, add both to stock pot with 1 Tbs Olive Oil. Sauté over medium heat till leeks start to brown lightly, about 5-7 minutes. Add 4 cups chicken stock and thyme; lightly boil for 30 minutes uncovered allowing stock to reduce and leeks and potatoes to become soft. Remove pot from heat (add the cup of soaking liquid if you re-hydrated your Morels) then place in blender and puree, set aside. Add Morels to clean stock pot with 3 Tbs butter, sauté over low heat for 30 minutes. Add small amounts of wine throughout to prevent the mushrooms from browning or drying out. Remove mushrooms and set aside. Any remaining wine can be used to de-glaze pot. Return the puree to the pot, add the salt, pepper and chicken base. Bring pot to a simmer for ten minutes stirring occasionally. Add the sautéed mushrooms to the pot then add the half and half, serve immediately.

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11 Responses to “Cream of Morel Mushroom Soup”

  1. July 19, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Great blog! I just added it to my favorites!

    • July 19, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Thanks for adding us to your favorites!

  2. July 21, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

    Replacing your toothbrush costs just a few dollars a time – about the same price as a hamburger or cup of coffee – and is worth doing, to maintain good oral health and to avoid bad breath.

    • July 22, 2011 at 5:41 am #

      I hate bad breath….we are going to buy more tooth brushes and eat more soup!

    • September 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      …And probably not a bad thing to do right after eating our ‘Florida Sweet Oinion Soup’ also!
      http://soupaday.com/2011/05/02/florida-sweet-onion-french-soup/

      • July 26, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

        We used to pick them by the cooler-full when I woerkd as a seasonal bird biologist in the Missouri bottomlands. There was a guy from Iowa I woerkd with who hit a pheasant one day on his way to the study site. We breasted out the pheasant, battered it up and deep fried the breasts. Took a hanful of morels and did the same thing. Then we threw everything onto cheap, grocery store burger buns and glugged ketchup on it. I do not recommend this treatment for pheasant or morels, but the memory of that sandwich does please me greatly.

  3. July 27, 2011 at 12:22 am #

    Im trying to start my own blog, so ive been searching and this is the best one if seen so far, Great Job!!!

    • July 27, 2011 at 4:50 am #

      Hey Matt!

      That is one hell of a compliment! It’s been a grueling but rewarding experience so far, it’s more work than either John or myself envisioned but we are having a blast with it. Personally this is the first “job” I have ever LOVED. I would like to give you some free advice: Just do it….it all gets sorted along the way, the longer you wait the longer it takes and that my friend is time wasted. Please let us know how it goes, when you get it up and running we would love to check out what you have done. Any questions, feel free to ask.

      Best wishes!

      D-

  4. July 29, 2011 at 9:57 pm #

    Greetings! I’ve been following your weblog for some time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout out from Austin Texas! Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

    • July 30, 2011 at 10:44 am #

      Thanks…..we will. A new video we just shot is being edited…should be wicked fun, come back soon to check it out!

      D-

    • July 26, 2014 at 11:42 am #

      We just got another foot of snow, and won’t see morles until May, but I did make a bomber mushroom sauce this weekend. I had about a pint of cream left from last week’s milk share, so I reconstituted a few big handfuls of dried morles and dried porcini, and about half a pint of pickled oyster mushrooms from last spring (rinsed). I sauteed an onion, added the mushrooms and juice, reduced it, added a slug of sherry and my pint of delicious local Jersey cream, and cooked it down into a nice thick cream of mushroom sauce. It was delicious on the pork chop (raised by the same lady I get the milk from) and I had about a pint left over to go in the fridge. Last night, after a brutal day at work, it was lovely over some linguine and asparagus a dinner that took 2 minutes to put together.I love mushroom hunting I wrote a piece for Culinate about how mushroom hunting saved me during grad school.

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