Mushroom Soup with Thyme

French novelist Janine Boissard helped me through college.

Not that she is aware of this act of kindness. But her books — none of them long but all of them lovely — created a pleasant diversion for me on weekends.

She wrote a series of books about the daughters in a family with ties to Normandy; I felt an affinity for them because I had relatives with the same surname. She also wrote other novels, too, and many times they were gentle feminist stories about women achieving some sort of independence or reaching some sort of decision.

I recall one book in which a woman’s husband leaves her for another woman, a younger one, of course. She drives through the rain into Normandy to spend time with her father, and they feast on a rustic meal that included mushrooms. It may have been soup or it may have been a mushroom omelet. No matter; it was comforting. I liked that scene.

I had that comfort in mind tonight when I made such a soup, using that leftover rind of Parmesan and some thyme to give it body and depth. Creaminess and warmth were what I craved.

Rustic Mushroom Soup with Thyme

  • 10 ounces mushrooms
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine or sherry
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • dash pepper
  • dash sel de fleur

Brush mushrooms clean with damp towel; quarter and set aside.

Melt half of butter in heavy stockpot. Add onions and heat until onions become transparent. Add mushrooms and the rest of the butter and stir until mushrooms begin to darken and cook. Add stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for an hour.

After an hour of simmering, allow the soup to cool. Working in batches, transfer mushrooms and most of the onions to a blender and purée, holding the blender top down. Return the purée to the stockpot, add wine and allow to simmer for another hour. At this point, I added my rind of Parmesan cheese and the thyme and left it in long enough for some flavor and texture to be released. I removed it after about 20 minutes.

Just before serving, I also added ¼ cup of half and half, to give my soup some creaminess.

Note: Tasty and layered, if less full-bodied than I would have liked. It was inspired by an Anthony Bourdain recipe. He says it's better the next day. Let's hear it for leftovers!


Freya and Paul said…
Hi Mimi, I always use the Parmesan Rind in soups too, it's my secret ingredient. It works so well to give depth to the soup. I have a drawer full of them in the door of my fridge. I love the combination of mushroom and thyme!
Laura Florand said…
Oh, this looks yummy! I'll have to try it.
Lydia said…
I save all of my Parm rinds for soup, too. Whenever I serve one of my soups to friends, someone always asks what my secret ingredient is that makes the soup so flavorful. It never tastes like cheese -- just tastes more rich. Mushrooms and thyme are one of my favorite combinations. I use them together in frittatas.
Oh, wish I could be there for the leftovers!
The Parmesan rind thing is excellent unless your husband finds your stash and throw's it out thinking it's trash. But that only happens once!
You've made me hungry for mushroom soup now.
Mimi said…
Freya and Paul, and Lydia, so you've all been on to something I just discovered! Where was I? This is my new secret ingredient, too. Homemade soup is so good.

Laura, this was easy, if a little time (thyme) consuming. You can find the original recipe at Epicurious, which is even easier. Bourdain uses parsley, but I had none and I thougt thyme made more sense.

Tanna. my husband does the same thing. And more than once....
Andrea said…
I made mushroom lasagna last night (an Ina Garten recipe) and it was out of this world. I love mushroom and thyme together. Thank you for the soup recipe ~ I'll have to try it this weekend.
Jann said…
So, you can teach old dogs new tricks-And I am referring to me-I have never saved my rinds. I can see I am in for a real treat...thank you so much for this great" secret" ingredient!
Mimi said…
Mushroom lasagana sounds good — it's like it with a white sauce, I think.

Jann, I'm pondering new used for old cheese...
L Vanel said…
Old cheese had plenty of uses! Hoorah for soup to cancel out that horrible day at work! I had a pretty bad day yesterday but things got a little better today. Thanks for sharing your experience of the soup, Mimi.
Mimi said…
Same here, Lucy, a better day today!

Of course, have the soup for lunch helped.

How are the feet after Paris?
I tried this today, it was delicious. The only problem was it didn't make enough. I reduced the stock by one cup, though, so it would be a little thicker, which meant it didn't need the half and half. And I added 2 cloves garlic, once the butter and onions started I couldn't resist adding a little garlic to it. Also, I didn't have a parmesan rind (but I will save this next one!), so just crumbled a few small chunks of parmesan in it and left them. Those turned out to be fun, a little surprise you would come upon while eating, very good.

I didn't think it took too long? At least not to prepare, which is the key for me--just a few minutes work, and then I could let it cook for a while.

Anyway--delicious! Thanks for another great recipe, Mimi.
Mimi said…
I should have put less stock in, but I made all this chicken stock the other day and I wanted to use it up. The recipe that inspired it calls for even more, if I recall. I'll reduce it next time as I thought it could have been thicker.

Thanks for the feedback, Laura. I was wondering how shallots would taste — good, I should think, as they are a natural for mushrooms.
Betty C. said…
I've read a book by Janine B. - - called "Bébé Couple." Clever and light. I didn't know much about her other books, though. And your soup looks great!
Mimi said…
I think I know that one - is it part of the trilogy (I think there are three) about the French family?

I wish I had copies of them (in English) - I think I will search while in Paris. Maybe a used copy?

I know Shakespeare & Co. has used books — that's a start.

Good to see you BC!
muebles leon said…
What namely you're saying is a terrible blunder.

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