What are your sherry emotions? It always makes me think of: a. My grandma’s drink of choice b. When I lived in Madrid and was unknowingly in a sherry bar. I took a sip of my supposed white wine and almost spit it out. Sherry straight up tastes like chamomile-flavored urine if you’re expecting something else. Apparently that’s why one variety is called manzanilla, the same word as chamomile tea minus the urine part. Now I’ve come around to some varieties of fino sherry in my old age.
But cooking with sherry is the best! It pairs miraculously with mushrooms, trumping boring old white wine every time. One Sunday afternoon, the state of Texas foiled my mushroom cooking plans by forbidding the sale of liquor on the Sabbath. I picked up a bottle of sherry at HEB, and the clerk immediately ripped it out of my hands. Sherry’s alcohol content places it in the “liquor” category, but I’m not about to chug a bottle on a Sunday afternoon. He directed me to the offensive cooking sherry, which I wanted to immediately throw back in his face. I know, it’s not his fault the State of Texas has Orwellian blue laws.
I could rant about how to make homemade cream of mushroom soup, avoiding the wretched stuff from a can, but that seems somewhat soap-boxy. This is just a deliciously cozy soup recipe to make if you have tons of mushrooms to use up. I was going to dice all the vegetables, but Dustin hates chunky soup. But I didn’t want a dark blah soup– I like those tiny bits of mushroom. Instead I pulsed the raw mushrooms and vegetables in the food processor, and it didn’t turn to mush! It was the perfect solution.
Cream of Mushroom Soup with Sherry
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3/4 pound cremini mushrooms
- 3 leeks, cleaned and chopped
- 1 rib celery, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 1 cup sherry
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- chopped chives (optional)
1. Pulse the mushrooms in a food processors until chopped into small, even pieces. Remove to a bowl. Then pulse the leeks, celery, and carrot together.
2. Heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven. Add the pulsed vegetables and season with salt and pepper. Turn the heat up to medium-high and. Cook for about 5 – 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are golden and have reduced significantly in volume.
3. Add the mushrooms, and cook until browned, about 5 – 10 minutes. Finally, add the garlic, and cook for about 2 – 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
4. Pour in the sherry and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scraping up the browned bits with a wooden spoon. Now add the chicken stock and bring the entire mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer the soup for at least 30 minutes.
5. Stir in the milk and sour cream. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with chopped chives.