In the early 1900s there was a chemist Kikunae Ikeda who discovered a fifth taste we have inside our mouths called umami–now mind you there may be more tastes inside our mouths, but that’s a WHOLE ‘nother story and longer blog. In 1908 Ikeda produced a patent to develop monosodium glutamate (MSG) to sell commercially to restaurants and packaged food companies. During the 1960s to present time MSG has had some really bad press as well as a reputation. I am not going to get into the argument if MSG is bad for you or not …
Umami is found in many foods … cheese, tomatoes, seaweed, mushrooms … the list goes on … essentially the amino acid in umami is glutamate which is a main ingredient to MSG. Your taste buds are not only triggered by sweet, sour, salt and bitter; they are also triggered by umami which means ‘savory.’
This soup I designed because my mother has a killer meatloaf recipe (don’t worry I will post it one day and link it to this article), and the only thing I wanted to change was the mushroom soup topping. Canned soups are great in the pantry of a on-the-go, working full-time, mom with four kids like she was … though, I’m a professional cook and I need to have a good standard cream of mushroom soup on my list of options for wine pairings. Because of this recipe I now have leftovers which can go on top of that meatloaf … ta-dah!
Mushrooms are best paired with Pinots in my opinion. You can use whichever mushroom you want in this soup I usually use a blend of king oyster mushrooms and Italian browns … the main reason for the king oyster is you can use so much of the king’s stem … you just have to get rid of the bottom part and they almost have a nutty taste to them. You see king oyster mushrooms a lot in Asian recipes even though they are native to the Mediterranean … man we humans have moved around! The more I read about and discover new-to-me ingredients the more I realize that all cultures grab ingredients on the run and develop them into their own meals. The best way to describe king oysters is that they kind of look like the mushrooms in Fantasia, but with brown tops.
Cream of Mushroom soup with Marsala
- 2 large sweet onions – chopped
- 3 ½ pounds of mushrooms – sliced (I used King oyster and Italian brown)
- 2 cubes of unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves (almost one bunch from the store)
- 1 cup of marsala.
- 4 cups of beef stock
- 1 pint of heavy cream
- Step 1 In a large stock pot melt butter and sauté onions.
- Step 2 When onions become translucent add mushrooms.
- Step 3 When mushrooms are becoming limp add thyme, stock and marsala … let simmer for about thirty minutes.
- Step 4 Turn off heat add cream and use an emulsifier to blend together.
- Step 5 Serve.