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Spanish Wild Mushroom Soup

Joe H

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I've made this for several people on the board (and several chefs) and was asked for the recipe. The original recipe draws heavily from Joyce Goldstein's Kitchen Conversations (she owned Square One in San Francisco) but the key is the 13 hour beef marrow stock reduction which is incredibly time consuming but makes the best beef stock I have ever tasted. The soup tastes COMPLETELY different when made with the following stock. The stock also works extremely well with beef bourgignon, coq au vin-anything that calls for a rich, concentrated, intense beef stock. Generally, I reduce 16 quarts to about 3 over this period of time. You'll need a total of 15 hours to make this and another two hours to let cool before putting in the refrigerator.

Beef Stock

8-9 lbs beef marrow bones (Whole Foods has them frozen; I always use marrow


2 tblsp. olive oil

12 ozs. tomato paste

8 medium size ripe fresh tomatoes, coarsely chopped. (If I use vine on I will use 10-11.)

2 large Spanish/sweet onions, peeled, halved and sliced

3 carrots, peeled and chopped

3 stalks celery chopped

2 large whole heads garlic (3 smaller heads) cut in half horizontally

8 quarts of water at room temperate (from faucet)

12 fresh bay leaves

2 1/2 tsp. dried basil

2 1/2 tsp. dried thyme

2 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon

2 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, stems and leaves

2 tsp. whole black peppercorns

2 cups good red wine (I use Chateau Souverain/Franciscan)


Preheat over to 425 degrees

Place the bones in a roasting pan, drizzle oil over them and roast until brown, for about 15 minutes. Turn the bones over and using a pastry brush, spread the tomato paste over them and roast for an additional 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and garlic and roast until the bones are a deep brown and the vegetables are tender, for about 25 minutes.

Remove the roasting pan from the oven, lift out the bones and vegetables with tongs and place them in a 16 or 20 quart stockpot. (Alternatively, two pots with these split between them totalling at least 16 or more quarts; if using this method at some point, perhaps three or four hours into the reduction, you'll have to put all of this into one pot and continuing letting it cookdown.) Do not discard the juices in the pan. Add the water to the stockpot, then the bay leaves, basil, thyme, tarragon, oregano, parsley, peppercorns and salt and bring to a boil.

Place the the roasting pan on top of the stove over medium heat. Pour the wine into the pan and deglaze using a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits clinging to the bottom. When the pan is deglazed, add its contents to the pot. Bring this to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered for 12 to 13 hours, frequently skimming fat off of the surface.

Discard the bones from the stockpot. Strain the stock through a large fine metal mesh strainer, discarding the vegetables, etc.; skim the surface again and allow to cool for at least two hours before refrigerating.

Refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours) and then skim the congealed fat from the surface. This should result in a total of about 12 or 13 cups of deeply rich beef stock. Stock that is not used should be frozen and stored for up to 2 months.

Spanish Wild Mushroom Soup (Sopa de Boletos)

4 tblsp. olive oil

2 large sweet onions, finely chopped

3/4 tsp. cinnamon

2 large cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups diced tomatoes (I use Muir Glen)

1 1/2 lbs. wild mushrooms (shitake, portobello, chantarelle, baby bello) chopped

(Whole Foods and Wegmans sell packages of these)

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

5 ounces Spanish Sorenno ham, approx. one inch paper thin slices

5 cups above beef marrow stock reduction

1/2 cup fairly good dry sherry (I use Lustau Solera Reserva Los Arcos from

(Whole Foods-about $12 a bottle.)



1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Toasted slivered almonds

Heat the olive oil in a 4 quart or larger saucepan/dutch oven.

Add the onions and a bit of freshly ground salt and saute over moderate heat for 5 or 6 minutes. Add the cinnamon, garlic, tomatoes and cook, stirring often, for five minutes longer.

Add the mushrooms, thyme and Serrano ham (taking care to pick it apart otherwise it "clumps" in the soup) and saute frequently for 10 minutes until the mushrooms "give off some juices." Add 5 cups of beef marrow stock and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile toast the slivered almonds for a few minutes in a 375 degree oven on a cookie sheet.

Add the sherry, salt and pepper to the soup.

Serve in a bowl with the almonds scattered on top.

Note: this soup is extremely good the next day also. In fact ususally I make the stock on day one, the soup on day two and reheat it for the third day's dinner.

Edited by Joe H
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Thank you for your generosity in sharing this recipe. It's a two-fer...two recipes in one. It's great to know how I can use the beef reduction. Your instructions are clear and helpful. Have you pondered writing a cook book, as it where???

One question. You mention a variety of mushrooms for the soup. Can one use a combination of the mentioned 'shrooms, or stick to one kind?

Thanks in advance, and while the weather is still a bit chilly, I hope to make some arse kickin' stock!

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Thanks for the nice words. They are sincerely appreciated.

I like to make stock. Some wine for the stock, some for me.....

I use a combination of wild mushrooms but I think the portobellos (as one of several kinds) are important because they lend a "beefy" flavor. There's a packaged, presliced wild mushroom (chantarelles, shitakes, protobello, baby bellos) that Whole Foods, Wegmans and probably other stores sell that I like-it's easy. But you can really do this to your taste, just acknowledging that the more 'bellos you use the "beefier" the flavor.

Immodestly, this is a GREAT stock, though. The original is form Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking but I've probably made this about 30 or 40 times over the years and played with it a lot. He says to cook it down for 3 or 4 hours. I decided that 12 or 13 was about right. It's also the only stock I've ever had (when the fat is properly skimmed) that I could actually eat like soup. It's that good.

Start at 8 in the morning; by 9:30 or so you'll be ready to start cooking it down. At 10:30 that night you're simmering is over and you can let it cool for about two hours to 12:30 when it goes into the refrigerator. That's the actual schedule I use.

By the way, this is NOT an inexpensive stock to make. Marrow bones ain't cheap. Nor is the wine, even the tomatoes. But it's worth it.

Last I once made chili with this. It was AWESOME. I'd suggest taking any serious chili recipe you have that calls for stock and use this. "Capitol Punishment" chili is the one I used. Best chili I've ever had. This is the recipe for "Capitol Punishment" chili: http://www.recipeland.com/recipe/35764/ Instead of using 2 cups of water with bouillion cubes use two cups of this stock. Adds REAL depth of flavor and another dimension. One day I'd like to enter this in the Terlingua contest which the "Capitol Punishment" chili once won. This really does improve on it.

Edited by Joe H
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This sounds like a fabulous slow food classic with great depth of flavor. So I hesitate to be a nit-picker. But why call it "wild mushroom soup" when most of the mushrooms in it are cultivated? The only mushrooms you have included in the recipe that possibly are wild harvested are the chanterelles. And you haven't included porcini, which are wild mushrooms (Boletus Edulis), possibly the most intensely flavored of all the edible wild mushrooms, and widely available in dried form. Wildly delicious soup, I'm sure. I'd like to taste it sometime.

It's just a pet peeve of mine--calling things "wild blueberry" muffins that are made with cultivated berries. Or "wild caught" fish that are raised in pens at sea, and fed with commercial feed. Especially since I enjoy "stalking the wild asparagus" as it were, gathering edible wild plants, berries and mushrooms, when I have the opportunity.

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Zora, that is the name that Joyce Goldstein uses for it in her cookbook "Kitchen Conversations." I believe it is valid because I "fear" that many people would just go buy button mushrooms and make it with that. I use all of the mushrooms that I mention-not just two or three. I believe there is taste, even a bit of texture from the different mushrooms. I realize that I am stretching the literal definition but it just seems to connote an effort to use a selection of mushrooms, not just one or two.

Anyway, we need to discuss this over a bowl or two and several (or more) glasses/bottles of wine....

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Anyway, we need to discuss this over a bowl or two and several (or more) glasses/bottles of wine....

Joe--I look forward to it. And I am bringing home with me from my current visit to L.A. some treasures from a wonderful restaurant/chef's/gourmet supplier called Surfa's. Among the things I am able to transport are dried porcini mushrooms both dried sliced and in powdered form. I will certainly give you some of the porcini powder to enhance the flavor of your Spanish mushroom soup, because I notice that the Spanish name of the dish is Sopa de Bolitos--which clearly is a reference to Boletus mushrooms, since the Spanish word for mushrooms is hongos. And the Bolete family includes Boletus Edulis, known as porcini in Italian, cepes in French (can't remember the German name). Boletus Edulis grows all over the world--much of what is available dried in the U.S. is gathered in China and South America. It has not, to my knowledge, been successfully cultivated, but is gathered in great quantity in the wild. So, by all means, add some porcini to your sopa de bolitos to give it the taste the authors intended, and invite me over to eat some of it, accompanied, of course, by some good Spanish wine.

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