We've had such lovely weather here in Monterey that I wanted a meal to celebrate the flavors of early spring, yet hearty enough to recognize that it is still technically winter. This mushroom soup was the perfect thing to go with Wilted Spinach and Apple Salad...and a pinot noir!
1/2 cup butter, divided
2 cups sliced celery
1 cup sliced shallots (2-3 large shallots)
3/4 cup chopped onion (1 medium)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, brushed, trimmed, and sliced (I used one container of each: shiitake, baby bellas, oyster, and enoki, for a total of 16 ounces)
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup flour
8 3/4 cups chicken stock (this is 5 cans if you go that route, or just over two quarts)
1/2 cup half and half (you can use whipping cream if you want a richer flavor)
1 tablespoon dill
1 tablespoon parsley
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt 6 tablespoons butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add celery, shallots, onion, and garlic and saute until tender and aromatic, about 8 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute until they begin to soften, 4-5 minutes. Add the wine and sherry and simmer until the liquid is reduced to a glaze, 6-8 minutes.
Combine the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and the flour in a small bowl and mix to a smooth paste. Add to the mushroom mixture in the pot, stirring until it melts and coats the vegetables. Gradually add the stock and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened. Stir in the half and half and herbs, and season to taste with salt and pepper.