WILD MUSHROOM BISQUE WITH FRESH TARRAGON AND SHERRY
2 cups hot water
3/4 oz. dried porcini mushrooms*
1 medium sized leek
3-4 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ pounds fresh assorted wild mushrooms, cleaned and sled
1/2 cup sherry plus 1 oz. for garnish
4 cups chicken stock , or more as needed
2 tablespoons fresh stemmed and minced tarragon
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons flour
½ cup whipping cream
*Dried porcini mushrooms are available at Italian markets, specialty foods stores and many supermarkets.
Combine 2 cups hot water and dried porcini mushrooms in small bowl. Let mushrooms soak until soft, about 30 minutes. Using slotted spoon, remove mushrooms from liquid. Squeeze excess liquid from mushrooms back into bowl. Strain 1 cup soaking liquid into another small bowl, leaving any sediment behind.
Remove the roots and green from the leek. Split the leek in half and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Drain and pat dry, then dice
Heat a heavy large pot over high heat. When hot, add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, onion, carrots and leek. Season with salt and pepper, reduce the heat to medium and sauté until vegetables are tender and pale golden, about 3-4 minutes. Add 1 pound of the fresh mushrooms, and sauté until mushrooms are tender and brown, about 2-3 minutes, adding more olive oil if the pot looks dry. Stir in porcini and sherry. Cook until liquid is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes. Add 4 cups stock, 1 tablespoon of the tarragon, bay leaf and 1 cup reserved porcini soaking liquid. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Skim off any foam or residue that floats to the surface
In a small mixing bowl, blend the butter and flour together to form a smooth paste. Whisk the mixture into the soup and bring back to a simmer. If a thicker soup is desired, you may continue to add more flour and butter mixture.
Discard bay leaf. Working in batches, puree the soup in a blender. Using a medium mesh strainer, strain the soup back into the pot. Mix in cream. Bring to simmer. Adjust seasonings.
Heat a medium skillet on high heat. When hot, add 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and the remaining mushrooms. Season lightly with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender, about 2 minutes, then add to the soup.
The soup can be prepared 1 day ahead, if allowed to cool, then covered and refrigerated. Re-warm before serving, thinning with more stock, if desired.
Ladle soup into bowls. Drizzle a scant teaspoon of sherry over each bowl and sprinkle with the remaining tarragon. Serves 4 immediately