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Mushroom Bisque - The Savage Kitchen Season 2

Were back again with another bisque & that creamy deliciously smooth soup weve all grown to love. The timing couldnt be better really with the first days of autumn popping up out of nowhere. Fall is definitely here and warm hearty soups are the best way to stave off the chillier days.

With every great soup though comes a necessary partner garnish. But were not talking just simple garnishes no we want something with some bite to it something nice and crunchy to offset that silky texture. Contrasting senses are a great thing in the culinary word and soup and crackers is probably the most common sense thing you can do.

Wait - crackers?!

No were not boring. Ill give you a run-down on three different garnishes that can be used not just for the mushroom bisque but a wide variety of soups. With a bit of modification you can turn these three garnishes into great accompaniments for any soup you can dream up.

The first of course is the crostini and this is the closest to the cracker. Take some slices of good sourdough. Then punch out rounds or cut triangles or make any other interesting shapes youd like. (Ive heard that you can get Star Wars sandwich cutters you could try those too) Crank your oven up to the broil setting then put some Swiss cheese on top of the cut shapes. Pop em in the oven till brown and now youve got a toasted and melty pairing for your soup. Gruyere or Provolone works wonders as well. Float em on the soup or serve them on the side.

The second involves a bit more work. Filo dough is a very thin sheeted dough used for baklava and other pastries. You can find it in the frozen section of a store next to pie crusts and the like. On a cutting board lay out one sheet of filo at a time brush with butter and then lightly sprinkle some finely chopped herbs (rosemary parsley basil etc etc) and a bit of salt and pepper. Put another layer of filo on top repeat the herbs and more filo about a half dozen times then transfer to a sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut the filo stack into long thin rectangles longer than the bowls youll be serving the soup in and cook in a 350 degree oven until golden brown (anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes). Once cooled ladle the bisque into the bowls place a filo piece on top of each bowl and serve. It adds great crunch and an interesting visual element.

The final garnish involves another dough puff pastry. You can find it close to the filo in the frozen section. Puff pastry usually comes as one individual sheet and youll want to take a rolling pin and gently roll out the puff a few extra inches around each side. Lightly fold the puff in half to determine the halfway mark then lightly brush egg yolks over the whole puff sheet. Sprinkle herbs spices cheese or whatever youd like you can even do a thick flavorful tomato puree for some real zing on top of one side spread out enough to let the egg wash peek through. Fold the puff in half sandwiching the flavorings then cut long strips. Twist the strips with your fingers into corkscrews then lay the pieces on a sheet pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown (probably 10-15 minutes). These twisty sticks can be rested atop the bowls like the filo or if you use a tall soup cup you can stand them up in the soup for some height.

Try the garnishes theyre all fun and the add great flavor be sure to experiment with their components and you use them for different soups. Enjoy!

The Cliff House's Mushroom Bisque

Yields 1 Gallon


1/4-cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion (diced)
2 lbs. mushrooms (three types) quartered
(Shiitake trumpet Portobello Crimini
Chanterelle domestic button morel porcini)
1 pinch salt and fresh ground black pepper
3c dry white wine
4 tablespoon mixed fresh herbs (tarragon thyme chives parsley chervil)
4quarts heavy cream
4oz Truffle Oil


Heat olive oil in soup pot. Saute onions until they start to carmalize. Add mushrooms salt pepper and saute over low heat for approximately 10minutes.
Add the wine and simmer until most of the wine has evaporated. Add the cream and simmer for 30 minutes. Blend with hand blender till smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning to your own taste. Finish with herbs and Truffle Oil.