Wild mushroom soup*

Kevin spotted a cluster of honey mushrooms by the side of the road this morning.  twelve hours later, this is what they turned into.

Wild Mushroom Soup
(serves 4 as an appetizer)

2 T. vegetable oil or lard (I used lard, because I had it)
1 lb. cleaned, sliced, wild mushrooms
2 shallots, chopped
½ Russet potato, chopped
½ cup white wine or vermouth
4 cups stock (I used a mix of pork and smoked chicken, because I had them)
½ a Star porcini cube (optional, but get hold of one if you can)
2-3 T. sherry
half-and-half or cream to taste
salt and pepper to taste

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil or lard over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, and sauté until they’ve given up all their liquid, aren’t spongy at all, and begin to brown. For my honey mushrooms, this was a good half-hour.

2. Add the shallots, and continue to sauté until the they wild and begin to brown, another 5-7 minutes. Add the potato, wine or vermouth, porcini cube (if using), and stock, and bring to a boil. Turn down to a simmer, cover, and cook until everything’s quite soft, about 20 minutes.

3. Puree the soup to the consistency you like it either by pouring it into a blender, or using an immersion blender in the pot. Add the sherry, half-and-half or cream, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust. If the soup is thick, you can thin it with a little milk.