portabello mushroom (and leek!) soup

Speaking of frequently repeated recipes, this one we never get tired of. Great intense flavor and yet it's a snap to make. Perhaps the best discovery of our "year of the leek", in which we were surprised by this previously unfamiliar veggie on our second anniversary Carribean dinner, after which our new leek awareness led us to notice and try a number of satisfying recipes. This one also introduced us to the portabello mushroom, which has been acquiring recognition as a trendy Italian appetizer that we were able to try free in a food fair demonstration. Saving us the expense of the trendy Italian restaurant from which it came.


1/4 c (= 1/2 stick = 1/8 lb = 50 g) unsalted butter
5 leeks (white and pale green parts only), chopped (about 3 c, small leeks maybe)
1 medium onion, chopped
10 oz portabello mushrooms, chopped (about 4 generous cups, but we only used two 4 oz prepackaged cut mushrooms)
1/4 c all purpose flour (but we often only have "better for bread" flour lying around in wait for our bread machine)
3 c chicken stock or canned low-salt broth (we only use MSG-free veggie broth cubes/paste)
4 T dry sherry (this forced us to go out and buy cooking sherry)
2 c half and half
1/4 t cayenne pepper
ground white pepper to taste


  1. Start with the veggie preparation. Cleaning and chopping the leeks, onion, mushrooms. We peel the mushrooms but the brushing option is also allowed.
  2. Then we get the hot water boiling in the teapot for the broth. 3 1/2 c to allow for some evaporation and produce a little more soup.
  3. Then melt the butter in a large (nonstick is better) pot over medium heat.
  4. Add the leeks and onion and sauté about 10 minutes till tender. Add the mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low.
  5. Add the flour and cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes.
  6. Gradually stir in the stock (boiling water, first adding the veggie broth cube/paste) and 2 T of the sherry.
  7. Bring to a boil while stirring, then reduce the heat again and simmer about 10 minutes until thickened.
  8. Stir in the half and half. Simmer about 10 minutes until slightly thickened. Then stir in the cayenne pepper and season with white pepper and salt.
  9. At this point you can stall for time if you're doing advance preparation. Cover and refrigerate up to 4 hours ahead they say. We say leave yourself a half hour or so.
  10. Finish off by stirring in the remaining 2 T sherry, bring to a simmer and serve. With freshly ground black pepper.


  1. The white pepper is to avoid the appearance of dirt in your soup, which is what using black pepper as a finisher doesn't do. Notice that black pepper is not in the official list of ingredients. We just don't care.
pmshlksp.htm: 6-aug-2001 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]