First, as a bit of a prelude: it is extremely difficult to write about food every day. I salute food blogs like Too Many Chefs and SlashFood, and numerous others that I leave to you, the reader, to discover. We all eat every day, we all have opinions regarding what is good food, and what is food fit for left-overs, and what is only fit for the garbage chute. Keeping track of what is delicious, and why it turned out that way, is a task not fit for such as I. I do take pride in my culinary skills, and my adventurous nature, however, recalling what I did in the kitchen on a consistent basis is another matter entirely.
Anyway, there are times when I make something that amuses my palate, and wish to remember, past the approaching Alzheimer's or other looming short-term memory loss, why exactly something was tasty. This is one of those moments. Blame the wine.
1. Ingredients: flat leaf (Italian) parsley, a healthy leek, shallot, parsnip, carrots, broth (I used frozen chicken broth, but whatever's handy is probably just dandy), crimini and portobello mushrooms, butter/olive oil, wine (ended up using Solaz, a dry red, Spanish wine). You will also need a blender or food processor, or a large supply of amphetamine and a big knife. You call that a knife?
2. Of course, wash and slice everything, as appropriate. Do cookbooks really need to tell you to 'roughly chop' your parsnip? What are you going to do? Throw it directly in your bowl?
3. In your soup pot, heat olive oil, shallots, leek (green part only, natch), parsnips, carrots, and cook for several moments, turning frequently. My torn-out-of-some-magazine-recipe that I used as a rough basis for this soup calls for throwing in the parsley stalks, I actually wouldn't recommend this: removing the stalks at the end is quite difficult, and will probably cause you to burn your fingers eventually, while cursing in several languages.
3.a. Every cook worth their salty language uses someone else's recipe as a basis for their creations. The truth of ones skill become evident via the creative choices and deviations from the road map.
4. Add your broth and some water. Simmer for an hour or so, depending on how ravenous you become, and how soft the vegetables are. Once the vegetables are soft, and you are ready to move on too, add the parsley leaves for about a minute before turning the heat off.
5. Meanwhile, back at the ranch counter-top, chop your mushrooms with purpose, and add another shallot to the mix. Heat up some butter and olive oil in a skillet, add your funghi-bounty, and marvel at the mouth-watering odor. Throw in a splash or two of wine, just to keep yourself honest. There are a only few smells that really leave me weak in the knees, mushrooms and butter melting together in post-coital-bliss with red wine are several of them. I tossed in a few sprigs of my diced parsley for good measure. Cook until the mushrooms release their sweet nectars - usually about ten minutes later, depending upon your skill level with the Mushroom sutra.
6. If you foolishly used the stems of parsley, now you must extract them somehow. Good luck. After you've given up, and the soup has cooled, throw the broth/vegetables into a plugged-in food processor.
6.A. If you have been drinking from the open bottle of wine, and aren't really paying attention to details anymore, do make sure you have correctly attached the food processor. Otherwise you will lose a portion of the broth all over the counter-top. Trust me on this. If you didn't secure the bowl to the blade mechanism, and broth is leaking all over the freaking place, at least stick your finger in it as if to taste your concoction. If people are watching you, say in your best Pee Wee Herman voice, “I meant to do that!”
7. Blend the soup up well. You might have to use several batches if your food processor machine is dainty. Once the soup is no longer fibrous, add the sauteed mushrooms on top.