It seems like nobody suggests dinner at our place these days. But I’ve got a great mushroom bisque from the old days that is definitely company-worthy. It came originally from Front Street, and it’s one of those recipes that is not a secret: I got it from a friend in the 1980s, and later it made its way into Gillian Drake’s cookbook, A Taste of Provincetown, published in 1991. It is a recipe to be remembered and brought out at this time of year because, although it seems rich, it’s actually light — made without any cream. The original recipe calls for black trumpet mushrooms, but I’ve used everything from rehydrated dried boletes to a mix of portabellos, shiitakes, and plain old white button mushrooms.
serves 4 people
2 lbs. mixed mushrooms
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup medium-dry sherry
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
about 4 cups chicken broth
salt to taste
In a soup pot, sauté the mushrooms in butter until they start to soften. Season them with salt and add the half cup of sherry. Cook off the alcohol for a minute or two, then add the pepper.
When the mushrooms are soft and dark, take them off the stove and blend them with the chicken broth — you want about equal amounts of sautéed mushrooms and chicken broth, so the texture is creamy without being too thick.
Serve with a dash of sherry in each bowl. A few thinly sliced mushrooms, lightly browned, and a sprig of thyme makes a nice garnish.
Do your friends keep suggesting dinner at your place? If you’re that kind of cook, maybe you ought to invite the rest of us to your table. Send a favorite recipe. If it’s made with ingredients that are in season here, all the better. Something not too complicated, something with a story to it. Send it to [email protected].