Wild Creamy Mushroom Soup

I was going to title this recipe “Sheep’s Head Soup” because we use sheepshead mushrooms, but I was afraid no one would read it, let alone try it. But this is basically a cream-of-mushroom style recipe using wild sheepshead. Also known as hen-of-the-woods, these are in my opinion the next best tasting wild mushroom next to the king of spring, morel. They have a little bit stronger taste than the morel, but they are excellent in soup, pan-fried in butter, or batter and deep fried. This recipe can be tried using onions instead of shallots, which gives it a little more of a “garlicy” twang. You can also keep it simple and serve without the toast and cheese. Sheepshead started popping this past week (read the previous post) and can be found through mid to late October. Enjoy!

Wild Mushroom Soup  

• 2 pounds Wild Sheepshead mushrooms (2 cups)
• 2 cups chicken broth
• 2 Shallots (or onions)
• 3 Tablespoons flour
• 3 Tablespoons butter
• Half cup Heavy Cream
• 1.5 cups milk
• 1 Tablespoon olive oil
• pinch of salt and pepper
• 4 slices of bread
• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

• Pull the mushroom apart into stalks, and wash in cold water to remove dirt and bugs
• Pat the chunks dry on a paper towel, then dice into small pieces (roughly a quarter inch), try to use the tips of the "petals" as opposed the the fleshy stalks.
• Dice the shallot (or onion)
• Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, then brown the shallots and diced mushrooms
• Add the broth, bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes over low heat
• In a separate dish, stir the flour into the melted butter to make a paste
• Add the butter paste into the saucepan and stir into the broth
• Increase the heat to medium, and add the milk, stirring constantly
• When the mixture thickens and begins to boil, stir in the heavy cream
• Cook over low heat without boiling for about 10 more minutes
• Season with salt and pepper
• Ladle the soup into bowls, then place toasted bread on top, sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and serve

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