Chef Cal Stamenov of the Marinus Restaurant at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, California, created this elegant cream soup of mushrooms and garlic and a haunting hint of apple-smoked bacon, somehow just begging for a spot next to a crackling fire when the weather outside is crisp.
The brown butter creaminess of a Monterey County Chardonnay pairs well with the smoked apple bacon and mushrooms in this decadent dish; recommended producers include Bernardus, Morgan and Mer Soleil.
- 5 shallots, sliced
- 1 head garlic, peeled and sliced
- 1 medium leek, cleaned and sliced in ½-inch pieces
- 2 slices apple-smoked bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 5 Portobello mushrooms (each 6 inches in diameter) with stems, diced
- 1/2 bottle Pinot Noir
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 cups heavy cream
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the garnishes
- Garlic croutons
- 4 tablespoons crumbled goat cheese
- 5 drops per soup white truffle oil (optional)
- Garlic flowers, for garnish
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sweat the shallots, garlic, and leek with the bacon, covered, over medium-low heat until the ingredients are translucent.
Add the Portobellos, cover the pan, and sweat the mixture until about 90 percent of the moisture is removed from the mushrooms.
Add the Pinot Noir, increase the heat to moderately high, and reduce to three-fourths of the original volume.
Cover the mushroom mixture with the chicken stock and reduce to a slow simmer. Add the heavy cream and bring just to a boil. Carefully transfer the soup to a food processor and purée.
Pour the puree into a heatproof bowl, and season well with salt and pepper. Pass the soup through a fine-mesh sieve into a clean saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
To serve, ladle the soup into soup bowls and garnish each bowl with garlic croutons, 1 tablespoon of the crumbled goat cheese, 5 drops of truffle oil per bowl, if using, and garlic flowers. Serve at once.