If you’re ready to roll up your sleeves for a little fall soup cookery, you’ll find the results of this recipe to be well worth the effort! This makes a terrific first course for a special dinner, a great lunch, or a simple supper. You can make the soup in advance and just broil the croutons when you’re ready to serve it. Portobello mushrooms are a little pricey but they make all the difference – don’t try this one with button mushrooms or you’ll be disappointed.
Portobello Mushroom Soup with Caramelized Onions & Goat Cheese Croutons
Adapted from Bon Appetit, February 2002
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 pounds sweet onions, halved, thinly sliced (at least 5 cups)
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 1/2 pounds (24 oz) portobello mushrooms, stems removed, caps halved and cut crosswise in 1/4″ thick strips
3 tablespoons Cognac or brandy
3 garlic cloves, minced
8 cups vegetable broth (I like Pacific Foods brand if you can find it – in Cincinnati it’s in the Kroger organic section)
1 cup dry white wine
18 – 1″ thick slices French bread baguette (the super skinny loaf shape), toasted
8 oz. soft fresh goat cheese, at room temperature
1. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a heavy stock pot over high heat. Add onions and thyme; saute until onions begin to soften, about 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cook until onions are caramelized, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl.
2. In the same pot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft, about 12 minutes. Add cognac and garlic; stir 20 seconds.
3. Stir onion mixture into mushrooms. Add broth and wine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until onions are very tender, about 45 minutes. Discard thyme sprigs. Season soup with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly then cover and refrigerate. Bring to a simmer before serving.)
4. Preheat broiler. Place baguette slices on large baking sheet. Spread goat cheese on baguette slices. Broil goat cheese croutons until cheese begins to brown in spots – only about 30 seconds.
5. Divide soup among 6 bowls. Top with croutons and serve.