Makes 8 one-cup servings
Preparation time: 1 hour
2 pounds fresh wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, hen-of-the-woods (maitake), or porcini; may substitute all or part with shiitake or oyster mushrooms
2 large cloves of garlic, cut into thin slivers
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped yellow onion
8 cups chicken broth; may substitute vegetable broth
¼ cup unbleached flour
¼ cup corn oil
5 tablespoons butter
1 cup diced French bread
¼ cup chopped chives
French bread for serving
Clean mushrooms. Dice mushrooms and sauté with onions in olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan until onions are clear. Set aside about 1/4 cup of sautéed mushrooms for garnish. Add garlic, salt, and pepper to sauté mixture and continue to cook until done, approximately five minutes. Add celery and 4 tablespoons of butter and sauté until done.
Heat chicken broth in large soup pot. Transfer sauté mixture to food processor and blend to a very smooth consistency. Add 1 cup of warmed chicken broth and blend. Transfer puree to chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cook on low while preparing roux and croutons.
To Make the Roux
In a small iron skillet, heat corn oil and add flour. Stirring constantly, brown the oil-flour mixture until medium brown, about 5 minutes. Use caution to not burn flour. Add roux to hot soup in small quantities while whisking to prevent clumping. Cook soup at high heat for at least ten more minutes. The roux gives the soup a nutty flavor and adds thickness. Taste soup and add more salt and pepper to taste as needed.
To Make the Croutons
Sauté diced bread in 1 tablespoon of butter in skillet until crisp. Set aside. Just before serving, sauté the mushrooms that were set aside until almost crispy.
To serve, ladle one cup of soup in small bowl and top with a tablespoon each of croutons and crispy mushrooms. Sprinkle some chives on top. Serve with a nice crusty French bread.