Check out this sophisticated velvety and smooth soup from our talented chef in Cannes, France.
1 oz dried ceps (porcini mushrooms)
4 cups boiling water
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup Cognac
1 lbs button mushrooms, thinly sliced
2 medium leeks, thinly sliced, white and tender green parts only
1 medium size carrot, peeled & thinly sliced
1 celery stalk, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon very finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 cups freshly roasted chestnuts or store bought peeled roasted vacuum-packed chestnuts
3 cups homemade chicken stock
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 oz fresh ceps (porcini mushrooms) thinly sliced
*Ceps are the French equivalent of porcini mushrooms*
In a large heatproof bowl, soak the dried porcini in the boiling water until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms. Strain the liquid into a bowl through a sieve lined with moistened light cheesecloth or a paper towel. Rinse the porcini to remove any remaining grit and finely chop.
In a saucepan, melt the butter and add the chopped porcinis, button mushrooms, leeks, carrot, celery and rosemary and cook over moderate heat while stirring occasionally until the vegetables are nicely browned, 15 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the cognac and scrape any browned bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Reduce liquid until you have 1 tablespoon left, about 2-3 minutes. Add the chestnuts and stock.
Add 3 cups of the strained porcini soaking liquid and season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer over moderate heat until the chestnuts are very tender, about 30 minutes. Add the cream and let cool slightly. Puree in a blender until completely smooth and keep warm until ready to serve.
In a medium sized skillet, heat the oil. Add the sliced porcinis, season with salt and pepper and cook over medium high heat until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the sautéed porcinis and a drizzle of crème fraiche and good quality olive oil. Serve hot with crusty French baguette.
The soup can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days.