Next up, a little richness but not too much, and a little aromatic. I sautéed one finely minced garlic clove in about a tablespoon of unsalted butter. Normally, I consider garlic a vegetable, but I'm (slowly) learning to back off a bit and use it as an enhancement in some dishes, like this one.
To this pot, I added 1.5 cups of organic beef broth. I actually goofed at the store and did not get the low-sodium version, so I decided no more salt was to be added. I poured in the mushrooms and the mushroom broth. Next, about six grinds of black pepper (the Lithuanian grandmother is responsible for my love of black pepper, but I digress). I hoped this amount of beef broth wouldn't overwhelm the mushrooms, and my SWAG (aka some wild-assed guessing) was right on the money. I added about a tablespoon of freshly chopped parsley, that may have been a bit too much, and because I wanted a little more freshness, a pinch of thyme. I simmered for about an hour to let the flavors blend.
Next up, preparing the rest of dinner. Mashed potatoes for the soup to go over. I used small reds, and left the skins on for reasons of texture, taste and laziness. I hate peeling potatoes. In retrospect, next time I make this, I'm going to go for potatoes I peel. Maybe some Yukon Gold.
Some protein as well. Out of my fridge came some very nice pork chops. I lightly brushed them with olive oil and covered them with a 50/50 mix of panko and a spice blend called, of all things, Gobs of Garlic, which you can purchase here. Be warned, their blends run a little salty, hence the panko to cut it. Bake chops at 375 F for about thirty minutes, turning over halfway through.
For greens, a fresh salad, heavy on the frisee, dressed with a little olive oil and some white wine vinegar.
I stirred in half a cup of heavy whipping cream into the soup before serving it over the mashed potatoes. I wanted a bit more thyme, Ken thought it was delicious as it was, so I just added it to my bowl. I was really happy with the flavor. Without the cream, the soup was earthier than a bad Bordeaux, but with it, there was the earthiness of the mushrooms and the smoothness of the cream, plus the thyme and parsley.
Then, if you're me, forget, once again to take photos of the finished product. I'll get better, I promise. I served this with some hard cider, but I think beer or a full-bodied white would work just fine as well.
Now here's a question: do I enter this into Epicurious' recipe contest? Or do I use my chili recipe? Let's hear from you!