Hungry to Sail Again
Face it. During this pandemic, there’s certainly not much to splurge on. Nobody’s really thinking about redecorating, buying an expensive pair of designer shoes or theater tickets.
So why not take that money and order some morels—those rich, earthy and fragrant mushrooms of the rich and famous—and whip up a batch of Crystal Cruises’ decadent Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup? On board its ships, Crystal serves this liquid perfection in a hollowed-out bread loaf but it’s equally as delicious served simply in shallow soup bowls.
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Crystal Cruises’ Cream of Forest Mushroom Soup
1 ounce dried morels, or 2 ounces fresh morels
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup portobello mushrooms, finely sliced
2 ounces white mushrooms
3 ounces fresh porcini mushrooms, finely sliced
3 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly-ground white pepper
½ cup dry white wine
4 cups chicken stock
½ cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
Leaves from 1 fresh thyme sprig, minced
Leaves from 1 fresh oregano sprig, minced
2 large fresh basil leaves, chopped
4 six-inch round bread loaves (if serving in hollowed out bread bowls)
Garnish: Fresh rosemary sprigs
If using dried morels, wash the caps and soak them in warm water to cover for 10 minutes. Remove the stems and discard them. Cut small morels in half and large ones into three or four pieces.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and saute all of the mushrooms for about 3 minutes. Add the shallots and garlic and saute for two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, add the wine, and cook to reduce the liquid by half. Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer the soup for about 25 minutes. Using an immersion blender or traditional blender, puree half of the soup until very smooth. Return the puree to the pan. Stir in the parsley, thyme, oregano and basil and cook for about two minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Keep warm.
To serve: Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Cut off the top of each bread loaf. With a large spoon, remove the soft inner part of the bread. Place the loaves on a baking pan and warm in the oven for about five minutes. Remove the warm bread loaves from the oven and pour the hot soup into the bread cups. Garnish with the rosemary sprigs and serve.
Judi Cuervo is a New York City native who fell in love with cruising in 1976 during her first sailing aboard Carnival Cruises’ Mardi Gras. Twenty years later, she began her freelance cruise writing gig and, since that time, has covered mass market, ultra-premium, riverboat and expedition ships for regional, national and international publications as well as cruise websites.