Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Soup Recipe

In keeping with their usual panache, Longwood Gardens has once again, exceeded my expectations. We maintain an annual membership in our family so we can visit as often as we wish and they give us special perks in their loyalty program. We visit their gardens, but also greatly enjoy their food service. They have a garden cafe as well as a full-service restaurant. Large groups can arrange catered events. Their restaurant features bread baked in tiny clay flower pots with the bread "blooming" at the top to produce very cute, tasty rolls. Our favorite dish is the mushroom soup which lures us for lunch any time we visit the gardens.

Kennett Square, Pennsylvania is the home of Longwood Gardens as well as many mushroom farms. This regions calls it the "mushroom capital of the world" because over 51% of the nation's mushroom crops are grown in this location. There is a tourist industry catering to these little caps. This year's annual mushroom festival produced a commemorative cookbook. They are pretty much like chicken in that they are like little sponges and assume the flavors and spices with which they are combined. They are very tasty and very healthy whether in soup or on a pizza. I refer to the mushrooms which are commonly used in cookery, and not to be confused with "shroomery" or the production of mind-altering drugs. TMI on mushrooms?

I mentioned the soup on my previous post and CiCi from "Liquid Mind, Sanguine Soul" inquired about the recipe. I looked on the website for Longwood Gardens, but the recipe was not listed. I went to their "contact us" section and sent them e-mail suggesting that they put it on their web page. They e-mailed a copy of the recipe to me! We had thought it would be a big trade secret and they would never reveal their secret recipe, but here it is. You gotta love an organization that is so responsive to their fans. I haven't tried making the soup yet, but now I know what I have to buy.

1 quart water
½ cup heavy cream
1 leek, washed & diced
2 shallots, diced
1 stalk of celery, diced
1 tsp vegetable oil
2  Tbsps butter, divided
1/2 cup shitake mushrooms caps, julienned
1/2  cup cremini mushrooms, quartered
1/2 cup white mushrooms, sliced
½ cup sherry wine
1 ½ Tbsps flour
2 stalks chopped tarragon
4 stalks chopped thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1 tsp truffle oil

Heat heavy cream slowly on low.

Over medium heat, sauté the leek, shallots, celery, and thyme with the vegetable oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter slowly until translucent and sweet.  Add the thyme and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Add all the mushrooms and cook until they wilt and liquid is released.

Pour in the sherry and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

Place the remaining butter in a large stockpot on medium heat until melted, then remove from flame.  Add flour while whisking to combine, and pour in water.  Whisk until smooth.  Return to heat and continue to stir until it comes to a boil for 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the hot heavy cream, tarragon, and sautéed vegetables.  Bring back to a boil for 4 minutes.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Finish with the truffle oil.

Serves 4


  1. This looks so wonderful. I've never cooked with heavy cream before. I'll have to look into this. Thank you for this recipe. I just made corn chowder and someone told me I should use heavy cream.

  2. Happy New Year! Thanks for sharing this recipe. I am a huge soup fan and have recently read about the health benefits of mushrooms. I look forward to trying this. Take care.