Hooray – it’s finally Bistro Night courtesy of French Fridays with Dorie here at 1840 Farm again. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed all of the Friday holiday celebrations during the last month, but I missed our Friday night Bistro Night. I was happy to see it return.
When my family asks “What’s for dinner?”, I know that I will give them something to smile about when I answer that it’s Bistro Night. Today was no exception. We had all been looking forward to the first French Friday recipe of the New Year. We were far from upset when Paris Mushroom Soup was announced as the first recipe of 2011.
Mushrooms are a popular ingredient here. They are featured prominently in risotto, pizza, pasta, and our vegetable Hachis Parmentier. If they were a garden crop, they would certainly find their way into our already crowded rows of vegetables. Instead, we do the unthinkable and buy all of our mushrooms at the grocery store. Mushrooms are one of the few vegetables that I can honestly say always find their way to our refrigerator via the grocery store. We don’t see any at the local farmer’s markets and haven’t yet tried to propagate them on our property. Oh well, there’s always next year.
So, on to the recipe at hand. Paris Mushroom Soup. I wasn’t sure what to expect as I had never eaten it or prepared it. The accompanying photo in Around My French Table was of prepped mushrooms rather than the finished dish, so it didn’t give me any clues as to what my dinner bowl would look like. The recipe is really quite interesting. A raw, herbed mushroom “salad” is placed in each soup bowl and then the hot mushroom soup is ladled over it. I was intrigued by the combination.
The soup was simple to make. I didn’t expect any different. I’ve cooked many of Dorie Greenspan’s recipes and have never found her instructions difficult to follow. She always seems to provide an excellent road map to any dish whether it is quite simple or extremely complex. Maybe that’s why I enjoy cooking from her recipes so much. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that my daughter enjoys Dorie’s recipes as much as I do, which means that she is normally by my side as I’m making them.
My daughter and I made quick work of the recipe. The whole dish came together in about 45 minutes. Between the soup bubbling away in the Dutch oven and the fresh loaf of french bread in the oven, the kitchen smelled divine. We couldn’t wait to see and taste the final result. Luckily, it was time to finish the soup with the immersion blender. As soon as we did, I had my own mental image of what Paris Mushroom Soup was supposed to look like.
The table was set and dinner was ready. All that was left for Bistro Night was the eating. We had high expectations for this soup. We were not disappointed. It was a rich, delicious mixture that perfectly blended the freshness of raw mushrooms with the earthiness of sauteed mushrooms. If I hadn’t made it myself, I wouldn’t have believed that it didn’t rely on heavy cream to deliver such a velvety smooth texture. I looked around our farmhouse table and saw happy, contented faces. They stayed that way until we all realized that the soup was gone. We made immediate plans to make it again very soon. A true sign of a great recipe.
Next week, we’ll be enjoying Gnocchi a la Parisienne on Bistro Night here at 1840 Farm. We love gnocchi, so I’m sure that we will again gather to dine together at the table and enjoy every last bite. Maybe that’s why Bistro Night is so popular here. Good food. Good wine. Good time spent together as a family in the kitchen and at the table. The fabulous French food is merely a bonus.