Friday, February 25, 2011

Something Wonderful This Way Comes

Mushroom-Potato Soup with Smoked Paprika
Photo: Leigh Beisch
Sunset Magazine

Serendipity:  [ser-uhn-dip-i-tee] an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident.

Today I found serendipity--or it found me. I was shopping in my local mega-grocery store, and there in the produce section was a large plastic bag of button and cremini mushrooms. Not quite fresh, but not ready for the compost bin. And the produce manager had marked them down to half-price!

So now, my challenge was to create a dinner recipe that would focus on the wonderful taste of mushrooms and not worry quite so much about their appearance. Sure, I could have tossed them into a pot of spaghetti sauce, but I wanted to do something a bit more imaginative.

I had in my files a recipe from Sunset Magazine (October 2006) for "Mushroom Potato Soup with Smoked Paprika". That original recipe called for dried porcinis, pancetta, wine, and chicken stock. A great recipe, but I decided to play with it a bit. Here's what I did:

Mushroom "Stew" with Potatoes and Noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
1tablespoon butter
1 cup yellow onion, minced
5 cups sliced mushrooms
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups russet potato, cut in 1/2-inch dice
1 cup wide noodles (I used "No-Yolks wide noodles)
*3 cups mushroom broth (I used creamy portabello)

Place olive oil in large saute pan over medium heat. Add butter. When butter is melted toss in onion; cook about 5 minutes or until soft and beginning to color slightly. Add sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are browned--about 5 minutes more. Stir in paprika and tomato paste. Cook for about 2 minutes to meld flavors and remove from heat. Set aside.

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in a large saucepan. Add diced potatoes; cook for 5 minutes and then remove with skimmer and set aside. In same saucepan cook the noodles according to package directions. Remove with skimmer and set aside.

Reserve 2 cups of cooking liquid from the saucepan and set aside.

Place the mushroom broth in the saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the reserved potatoes, noodles, 2 cups reserved cooking liquid, and onion/mushroom mixture. Simmer until heated--about 5 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.

*substitute chicken or beef broth if desired.

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