The Food and Wine Hedonist

leave your inhibitions at the door

Football Season Recap – Thomas Keller’s Mushroom Soup Recipe

Like this recipe?  Be sure to check out all the others by clicking on the “Recipes Index” on the left side of your screen or clicking here.


It’s been a while since I’ve talked about football and, since the Super Bowl is this weekend, this is as good a time as any to do a recap.  The whole idea of doing football picks on this blog was to get my kids interested in the sport.  I knew that sitting down and explaining all the rules or forcing them to watch games would be met with major resistance – aka “One of dad’s long-winded lectures”.  So I opted to have them pick winners for the weekly games with a small monetary incentive and kept them aware of their progress…  Yes, I introduced them to gambling and promoted an unhealthy sibling rivalry.  But it worked!  Now phase 2 – getting them to become lifelong Bears fans.

How well did it work?  The first half of the season they didn’t do so well.  But towards the end of the season they started to kick major ass.  Over the last five weeks of the season they picked 66.3% of games correctly, and I only picked 61.3%.  Compare that to the ESPN Panel of Experts – ex-football players, sports journalists, computer simulators – who collectively picked  60.8% correct.  In terms of actual interest, there were a few moments at the beginning of the season where I had to drag them kicking and screaming to the computer to get their picks.  Now, they’re looking forward to watching more than the commercials at the Super Bowl.

At the midway point I would’ve been at the top of the ESPN Panel of Experts.  I slipped a little in the second half, but still beat most of them.  Here’s how we matched up:

For the final week of the season, I had this theory that the outcomes of end-of-season football have nothing to do with actual games on the field.  I thought the really good teams would just coast through this last week and try to get to the playoffs injury-free.  The result – I got shellacked by Pieholes and the Maitake mushrooms.  The rule of my football picks all year has been that, if the produce beats me at picking games, I wouldn’t execute them.  Well, that little package of mushrooms was expensive and this mushroom soup recipe was too good to pass up.

Mushroom Soup

I got this recipe from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc cookbook, the source for the brownies I made on New Year’s Eve.  The cookbook is supposed to have simplified, family style meals, but “simplified” to Thomas Keller is still worlds away from Sandra Lee or Rachael Ray.  The recipes are not the type where you toss some rice and a can of soup in a pot and you’re done.  These are sometimes pretty involved where a recipe calls for a particular ingredient whose recipe appears elsewhere in the book.  When you get to that recipe, it has components that refer to a couple of other recipes.  So, if you go by the book, you can end up doing 3-4 recipes.  None of them are particularly difficult, just time-consuming.

Obviously, you can always substitute where you can.  In this case, I opted to buy mushroom broth from Whole Foods as opposed to buying four pounds of mushrooms to make mushroom stock.  With this recipe, all of the major components of this soup are cooked and kept separately.  This allows a very clean soup where all of the individual flavors and textures are distinct and come shining through.  Don’t get freaked out about the length of this recipe.  Even with all the steps, I was able to make this soup in less than a two hours.  It’s soooooo worth it.

  • Canola Oil
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 cup diced leeks
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • Kosher Salt
  • 1.5 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 small bunch Cavolo Nero (Tuscan kale)
  • 1.25 lbs Yukon gold potatoes
  • 1 sachet
  • 2/3 lb hen-of-of-the-woods mushrooms (he suggests oyster mushrooms as a substitute, I used maitake and shiitake)
  • 1.5 Tbl unsalted butter
  • ¼ c minced shallots
  • 1 Tbl minced thyme
  • 8 cups mushroom stock
  • black pepper
  • 5-6 Tbl Garlic Puree
  • 1-2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  1.  Heat 3 T of oil in a stockpot over medium heat
  2. Add carrots, leeks, onion and a generous pinch of salt, reduce the heat to low, cover with a parchment lid. (Circular piece of parchment paper that covers  veggies, with hole in middle of it)
  3. Cook slowly for about 25 minutes.  Veggies will have released their liquid but the carrots will not be tender yet.
  4. Lift parchment lid, add garlic, and cook for 10 minutes, or until carrots are tender.  Remove and discard parchment lid.
  5. Meanwhile, remove and discard ribs from the kale leaves.  Rinse under cold water, drain and cut into 1×3 inch strips. Set aside.
  6. Peel potatoes, quarter lengthwise, and cut crosswise into large pieces. Put the potatoes, sachet, and 2 tsp salt in a large saucepan, add cold water to cover, bring to a simmer, and cook until the potatoes are just tender about 10 minutes.  Drain and spread on a tray to cool; discard the sachet.
  7. Trim any woody ends from the mushrooms and break apart into bite-sized clusters.
  8. Set a cooling rack over a baking sheet and line with paper towels.  Heat some canola oil in a large skillet over high heat until the oil shimmers. Add half the mushrooms, season with salt, and cook , without stirring, for a minute to allow the mushrooms to absorb the oil.  Add half the butter, shallots, and thyme, toss and sauté until the mushrooms are lightly browned and tender, 6-8 minutes total.  Transfer the mushrooms to the towel-lined rack.  Wipe out the skillet with paper towels, heat additional canola oil, and cook the remaining mushrooms in the same way.
  9. Add the mushroom stock to thte stockpot and bring to a simmer.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  (The soup is best served just after finished but can be refrigerated at this point for up to 2 days.) Meanwhile, blanch the kale in a large pot of boiling salted water until wilted and just tender, 1.5-2 minutes.  Drain.
  10. To serve, stir the garlic puree into the soup.  Add mushrooms, kale, and potatoes.  Season with salt, pepper, and vinegar.  Pour into a serving bowl and drizzle with olive oil.

Garlic Puree

  • ¼ cup Garlic Confit cloves

Put the garlic in a small food processor and blend, scraping down the sides often, to puree.  For a finer texture, press through a small fine-mesh basket strainer.  I don’t own a food processor, so I mashed with a fork.


Garlic Confit

  • 1 cup peeled garlic cloves
  • Approx. 2 cups canola oil
  1. Cut off and discard root ends of the garlic cloves.  Put the cloves in a small saucepan and add enough oil to cover them by about 1 inch – none of the garlic cloves should be poking through the oil.
  2. Set the saucepan on a diffuser (I don’t have one) over medium-low heat.  The garlic should cook gently: very small bubbles will come up through the oil, but the bubbles should not break the surface; adjust the heat as necessary and/or move the pan to one side of the diffuser if it is cooking to quickly.  Cook the garlic or about 40 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so, until the cloves are completely tender when pierced with the tip of a kinfe.  Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the garlic to cool in the oil.
  3. Refrigerate the garlic in a covered container, submerged in the oil, for up to a week.


About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

One comment on “Football Season Recap – Thomas Keller’s Mushroom Soup Recipe

  1. Yinzerella
    February 2, 2012

    You lost me at parchment lid.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on February 1, 2012 by in Cooking, Football and tagged , , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: