Michel Bras purees this lush mushroom soup with bread toasted to a dark brown to thicken the texture and deepen its flavor. He learned the trick from his mother growing up in the Aubrac mountains, one of France's poorest regions. "I used to mix bread crumbs with sugar for a little treat," Bras says. "We were happy with very little."
3 1/2-inch slices of sourdough bread, crusts removed (6 ounces)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 pounds white mushrooms, coarsely chopped
2 portobello mushroomsstems discarded, black gills reserved for garnish caps coarsely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground white pepper
6 cups vegetable broth or water
3/4 cup heavy cream
12 dill sprigs
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 300°. Bake the bread slices on a baking sheet for about 1 hour and 40 minutes, until deeply browned.
In a pot, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over moderate heat, until the mushrooms are softened, 5 minutes. Add the broth and 1/2 cup of the cream; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the mushrooms are tender, 10 minutes.
Add the toasted bread to the soup; simmer until softened, 5 minutes. Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor. Return the soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
In a saucepan, bring the remaining 1/4 cup of cream to a boil. Remove from the heat; whisk until frothy. Ladle the soup into bowls, top with the frothed cream, garnish with the dill and portobello gills and serve.