Porcini Mushroom Soup

Porcini Mushroom Soup Recipe

This soup is for the mushroom lovers out there. As I was clearing the cupboards in preparation for the painters the other day, I came across a small bag of beautiful dried porcini mushrooms. The soup I ended up making is hearty, fragrant, earthy, and simple to prepare. Seven ingredients including potatoes and porcini mushrooms are packed together in an intensely flavorful broth peppered with rosemary and tiny pools of golden olive oil. Just the thing to go along with chunk of butter-kissed garlic bread. Also, (and here's the best part about this soup) it just keeps on giving. I used the mushrooms in tacos the next day for lunch, and later in the evening used the broth and soba noodles, a bit of spinach and some tofu for a quick supper.

Porcini Mushroom Soup Recipe

When you go to buy dried porcini mushrooms, try to smell them. I know this might be a challenge (particularly if the bag is sealed), but sometimes the mushrooms are sold in jars. You are after a concentrated mushroom aroma. Avoid anything musty or dusty. Avoid mushrooms that seem crumbly, and avoid any that have little worm holes in them.


Porcini Mushroom Soup

Not everyone loves giant slurpy pieces of mushrooms, if this is you, simply chop the larger porcini into smaller pieces before soaking them. I should mention I decided to add some oven-roasted chestnuts* to this soup as well - totally optional, although they add an unexpected dense, sweetness, and are a traditional pairing with porcini. I also like this soup with a couple handfuls of cooked brown rice or farro or wheat berries thrown in. And most important -getting the salt right in this soup makes all the difference in the world. If you under-salt the soup it will be flat and the mushroom flavor will not come into focus, so be mindful of this. And lastly, when you go to reheat any leftovers, you may need to add a bit of water, and readjust the seasoning again.

2 ounces of dried porcini mushrooms
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 pounds small new potatoes, cut into 1/3-inch pieces
3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups water
1 1/2 - 2 teaspoons salt

Extra toppings (optional) freshly grated Parmesan, chopped sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chives or fresh thyme.

Soak the porcini mushrooms in 2 cups of hot water for about 15 minutes, or until they are soft. Set aside.

Heat a splash of the olive oil in a large thick-bottomed pot, saute the shallots for a couple of minutes, then stir in the rosemary and potatoes. Add the remaining olive oil and cook for about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic, the porcini along with the soaking liquid, the 4 cups of water, and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for ten minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. Taste. If the broth is too intense, you may want to add more water a bit at a time. And take care to get the salt right as well, it's important in a simple soup like this.

Serve as is or topped with any number of the ingredients I listed up above.

Serves 4-6.

*To oven-roast chestnuts, heat the oven to 400F. Prepare the chestnuts by setting them flat-side down. Now carefully cut a small 'x' into the round side of each chestnut - to allow steam to escape as they are roasting in the oven. Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake cut side up, for about 20 minutes or until fragrant and the edges of the 'x' cuts begin to peel back a bit. Remove from oven, let cool, peel, and cut into quarters. I always roast a few extra chestnuts while I'm at it in case there are a couple that are off or moldy when you go to peel them.

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Your Comments

Scott at Realepicurean
January 11, 2009

I love mushrooms; this looks a really good way to use them!


January 11, 2009

We ate a very similar dish this Christmas, but it involved a splash of cream and port. I like this lighter version, though.

I'd really love to hear more about that soba and mushroom soup. Since visiting Japan, soba is even more intimidating than it used to be, and I'd like to hear about your approach.


January 11, 2009

What a great looking soup. I have a jar of dried porcini in my cupboard too, so it would be a great way of using it up. I'll have to keep it in mind.


January 11, 2009

OOh this sounds good for a mushroom wh*re such as myself. I think I might make it with some sauteed shiitakes -- what do you think? Too much?


January 11, 2009

Oh my! I know I will love this.


January 11, 2009

Yum. Yum. Yum.


January 11, 2009

I usually add dried porcini to mushroom soups or risottos, or even bolognese, to accentuate the mushroom flavour. This sounds like an interesting way of using them. I like the flavour combination of mushroom, garlic and rosemary.


This looks so good - perfect to make on a cold, winter day like today!


January 11, 2009

I can almost hear the slurping noises :-)

Porcini and chestnuts are a gorgeous combination so I'm sure it would be worth the effort to make the chestnut version. I made a lentil and chestnut stew with porcini last weekend and those flavours just work really well together, as you say.


January 11, 2009

I made this today. It was good. Not great, but good. Against my better judgment, I used the 1/3 cup olive oil, as listed, but it was way too oily. Next time, I'll cut back the oil.


Dana McCauley
January 11, 2009

Nice looking soup. Dried mushrooms almost always hang around my house for way, way, too long. Why is it that so often I can talk myself into thinking that soaking a few mushrooms is a big job?

Thanks for the inpsiration!


Jessica D
January 11, 2009

Oh my lord, this looks delicious. I will be making this in the very near future. And I will have to try it with the roasted chestnuts--sounds amazing!


January 11, 2009

I love mushrooms, but I always have trouble getting dry ones to soften enough to be edible (i.e.--not tough). Any suggestions? I have a bag of dried Shitake I'd love to use in this soup!


Mmm...I do love mushrooms so very much. I'd like to try this with a wild rice blend.

I was surprised by the amount of oil as well. Although I enjoy olive oil, I'm not typically a person that likes food to taste strongly of oil (e.g, I'll dip my bread in it, esp if it has garlic in it too, and enjoy that, but I don't want pools of it on my soup). Is there a reason for the amount, or are you just from the oil-lovers' camp? ;)


January 11, 2009

I also found some porcini mushrooms that have been hiding in our cupboards! Can't wait to try the recipe this week.


January 11, 2009

Great tips about the appropriate salting salting. What do you think about soaking the porcinis in red wine or broth (or replacing the water with either)?

HS: I'd say try it with broth first. Red wine would be an entirely different approach to this soup, and I think some other adjustments might need to be made.


January 11, 2009

Yeah, I find that the olive oil used for sauteeing is usually more than enough for a pot of soup - no need to add much more to the water. To each their own, though...

HS: I have to say that I do love the body and mouth-feel that comes with the olive oil here - but recognize it might not be for everybody. It's perfect sopped up with a hunk of bread. Feel free to tweak it (scale back a bit) to your liking.


January 11, 2009



January 12, 2009

I am not the biggest fan of mushrooms but my girlfriend is...and she will LOVE this. Thank you.


todd breslin
January 12, 2009

tried this.

it was amazing.

marry me.


January 12, 2009

This sounds fantastic! I've never really tried dried mushrooms, but this sounds too good to pass up.


January 12, 2009

I adore porcini mushrooms. I use the broth from soaking the mushrooms as a stock for gravy. I even make a fabulous green bean casserole with it. Not your momma's green bean casserole!

Anyway, I think I'll make this soup but add some sauteed fresh mushrooms as well.


January 12, 2009

That looks delicious. Finally, a mushroom soup that isn't just loaded with cream!


January 12, 2009

Oh you have hit my weakness! Soup and mushrooms ... mmmm. I can't believe I used to hate mushrooms, now I can't live without them.


January 12, 2009

That looks soooo good. I also love to see a mushroom soup recipe without all the cream. I might try a riff on this with Christmas Limas in it. Since they have the chestnut flavor, I think they would go well with the mushrooms. Now if I can just find some decent dried mushrooms. The last ones I bought were garbage material.


January 12, 2009

Looking at a comment that Madeline said, about this being similar to a Christmas dish, makes me wonder if the horrific feast that is Ukrainian Christmas Eve might be made a little better with -this- mushroom soup... Even though I'm not a huge fan of mushrooms, the pictures and descriptions of this recipe sounds amazing!


January 12, 2009

Heidi, what perfect timing! I stumbled upon a half-used packet of dried mushrooms yesterday. I don't think they're too old, but I guess I'll soon find out :). This sounds like a wonderful comforting soup.


January 12, 2009

I love your recipes Heidi! I use your website more than any of my 50+ cookbooks. I have some dried porcini in the pantry- what a perfect way to fend of the cold Chicago winter.


January 12, 2009

I like.. I like very mush.


January 12, 2009

Looks wonderful!


January 12, 2009

You're singing my song! Mushroom lover, indeed. Can't wait:-)


January 12, 2009

I powder the dried mushrooms in the food processer, makes for wonderful soups, pates and such - really wonderful way to use dried mushrooms.
Thanks as always for great recipes!!!


January 12, 2009

I love love love mushrooms. I however have not really experimented with dried mushrooms. I suppose my first step should be to locate some.


January 12, 2009

Mushroom soup with Chestnuts - yum! Chestnuts are one of my favorite ingredients and I'm always looking for a new way to incorporate them into recipes. I also love how the different parts of the soup morph into other meals.


January 12, 2009

Every year I look forward to Chanterelle soup in a beef base at the local Blue House Cafe. I love the cream soup idea with mushrooms, also, but this looks very good. I have dried Shitakes in the cupboard. Hmm. Someone else asked about them. They would perhaps be too strong-tasting?


January 12, 2009

I'm definitely in the mushroom loving group. The soup, the leftover broth with soba, and the mushroom tacos all sound fantastic!


January 12, 2009

You're awesome Heidi!

BEAUTIFUL picture!

SEXy recipe!


January 12, 2009

This looks awesome! I LOVE mushrooms, and this seems perfect for the snowy days we've been having.


January 12, 2009

This looks fantastic ! I tried making a pear & mushroom soup yesterday using a recipe from Deb Gardner & posted in the NYTIMES. You can see the results on my blog: theripetomato.wordpress.com I suspect the pear soup would have benefitted from the dried mushrooms in addition to the fresh ones.

I am also fortunate enough to have an uncle who lives in southern Italy (in my dad's home town) and he periodically sends over some real home-dried porcinis. Their quality is unmatched by anything I can find in the US.


January 12, 2009

This looks great. Dried porcini mushrooms add so much flavor and they're convenient too!


January 12, 2009

Can't wait to try this one!


January 12, 2009

Thanks for the advice on buying dried mushrooms. I love those kind of tips that you put in your blog.


January 12, 2009

Hey, long-time reader/eater, first-time comment-er. I'm carb-conscious; any suggestions for making this soup without the potatoes? Thanks in advance.

HS: Hmm - perhaps cauliflower?


January 12, 2009

if they don't like big slurpy pieces of mushroom, all the better- more for us mushroom lovers! this looks delicious.


January 12, 2009

Anyone know if porcini mushrooms are the same as the french 'Cepes'? My mom is from the pyrenees region of France and would love to find them. I have fond memories of their aroma cooking up in a skillet with butter, garlic and parsley. Thanks.


January 12, 2009

To come home this cold dark northeast night to this recipe..divine!


January 12, 2009

In response to nolagem:

In the time I spent in Perigord and the area between the Lot and Dordogne Rivers, cepes were very common and wonderful. I remember an omelette aux cepes that was to die for. Going the other direction, it took me a while to figure out that cepes = porcini, as these mushrooms are called in the US.


January 12, 2009

When Costco opened here this summer, I bought an 8 ounce plastic jar of Gourmet Mushroom Blend from Manitou Trading Co. It lists several types of mushrooms, and porcini are listed 2nd, so I assumed they were 2nd most plentiful. Unfortunately I don't recognize all the mushrooms. I do recognize the morels, and they are listed first! I guess the joke's on me, because they are soooo expensive fresh and definitely not the most abundant. Last week I put about an ounce into my beef bourgignon recipe. I also used fresh conventional mushrooms. I'm not sure that the dry blend added that much flavor. I'm also not sure of the age of the mushrooms. it does say on the bottom to use them by March 09. I guess I'll google the different kinds of mushrooms to see what I have. I may pulverize them as someone else suggested. Once I figure out which ones are porcini, I'll fish them out and try your recipe, Heidi.

Thanks for the blog, Heidi. I get lots of good ideasfrom it. And I especially like how easy it is to navigate the site and find past postings so I can print the recipes when I am ready.


January 12, 2009

Re cepes and porcini: yes, they are the same thing.

Looking forward to trying this! Would it be too much to make a stock and start the soup with that instead of h2o?


January 13, 2009

I too had a cupboard clear out last week & found half a packet of dried mixed mushrooms, unfortunately too far out of date to use, I'd already boiled up 9 poussin carcasses from the New Years Eve dinner, so used fresh mushrooms instead. It's just a totaly different flavour, but still a wonderful flavour, & so much nicer than the shop bought stuff! And yes I agree the salt content has to be spot on! I'm putting dried mushy's on my shopping list this week, thanks for the reminder.


January 13, 2009

Your blog looks absoluty amazing!

xxx Bar.


January 13, 2009

i love, love, love mushroom soup. yours looks fabulous. i can't wait to try it, and all the ways to use the leftovers.

have a great week!


January 13, 2009

i just bought a big container of dried mushrooms, too - perfect timing.


January 13, 2009

Mushroom lover here. I posted a Roasted Mushroom Soup recently that I was quite enamored with. Haven't tried dried mushrooms in soup before though. This one sounds worthy of trying!


January 13, 2009

I wonder if it's nice with using dried shiitake mushrooms and less-flavoured oil (and without rosemary?), instead. And adding a slpash of soy sauce... Well, I should try Heidi's recipe first, and think further.


January 13, 2009

what would be a good wine with this? And I am making homemade baguettes for it tonight


January 13, 2009

Can this be made with canned mushrooms?


The Duo Dishes
January 13, 2009

You're appealing to the mushroom lovers in us!


January 13, 2009

Sounds good; I'm intrigued by the porcini/chestnut combination.

When rehydrating dried mushrooms, I've found it's a good idea to filter the soaking liquid through a paper towel or coffee filter before using it in a recipe. I've had some pretty gritty mushroom dishes when I neglected to do this.


January 13, 2009

i just bought some dried porcini mushrooms from rainbow (so enamored by their bulk bins and jars!) on a whim

Thanks for giving me something to do with them. Otherwise they would probably get lost in the jungle that is my pantry.


January 13, 2009

I had the pleasure of buying fresh porcinis at my local alimentari when I lived in Italy. I've tried the ones here but they just don't have that same rich, aromatic flavor that the wild Italian ones did. Alas, so much (foodwise) is better in that country! At least we have the dried ones to make intensely-flavored creations such as this. Beautiful job!


I had the pleasure of buying fresh porcinis at my local alimentari when I lived in Italy. I've tried the ones here but they just don't have that same rich, aromatic flavor that the wild Italian ones did. Alas, so much (foodwise) is better in that country! At least we have the dried ones to make intensely-flavored creations such as this. Beautiful job!


Lisa Lee
January 14, 2009

Wow...I love mushrooms too :)


January 14, 2009

Oh wow! That looks absolutely divine. I'm a terrible salter but when I try this (which I definitely will, hopefully very soon) I'll try to do it justice.


January 14, 2009

I recently had an amaaazing mushroom side dish at an Italian restaurant. They were roasted wild mushrooms (I believe porcini actually) marinated in balsamic vinegar and truffle oil. They were to die for, but unfortunately probably too expensive to replicate...


January 14, 2009

Yummy! Thanks for this.


January 14, 2009

Hi, I come from Poland and we cook here similar soup. It is more delicious if you earlier pick and dry mushrooms yourself :)

Happy New Year to all of you and a lot of new tasty recipes in 2009!

Heidi - your blog is wonderful :)


Lick My Spoon
January 14, 2009

This really is a mushroom lover's dream. I just stopped by a food co-op the other day that had dried porcinis in their bulk bins. I should pick some up for later. I like how you show pictures of the dried mushrooms next to the reconstituted ones to educate folks on how the before and after should look. Fantastic! :-)


January 14, 2009

Last night I discovered a forgotten bag of porcini myself..what luck I thought to find this recipe today! I was excited to come home and make it; as promised, its hearty and I can see the versatility..can't wait to try it with soba. Thank you!


January 14, 2009

Hmm...Yummy! I liked it very much! my Grandmother even added it to our very old recipe book!


January 14, 2009

Hello Heidi and all,

This is apropos your last recipe for chipotle white beans, on which comments had been closed. I've been visiting this site for awhile and often read all the comments for a given recipe, but this is the first time I've posted one.

It's funny how certain things can set off the memory train, but that last recipe sure did. When I was very young (4-ish), my family was quite poor. One of my earliest memories is of having white navy beans for dinner night after night. I'm sure Mama did the best she could to vary the menu, but she was more a practical, country girl cook, and in any case, you'd have found snowballs more easily than a chipotle chili in Alabama nearly fifty years ago.

I'd just like to say it's a testament to your recipe (and photos) that I'm now tempted to try white beans again. I'll have to adapt, though, as I'm one of those who can't stand cilantro.

Thanks, George

HS: Thanks for sharing your story George - let me know how it goes!


January 15, 2009

So...this looked so delicious yesterday I went and hunted down some dried porcini (in a shop I might add, there being very few forests in London). I came home and started to cook and as usual realised I didn't have all the ingredients half way through.....! So the soup I ate last night was minus the chestnuts (which I'm keen to try next time) and subbed in thyme and bay to get the astringency of the rosemary which I didn't have (how?). I scaled back the oil a little as well as I only happened to have a very expensive bottle in my cupboard, but still poured a fairly generous dose in......it was excellent!! Next time I'll take a shopping list and do the thing properly....

I'm off the nightshades at the moment so potatoes are out but I think a handful of white beans might go with this too next time I make it. Yum!


January 15, 2009

I made this last night, up here in Vermont, when the temperature was well below zero. Even though it is a vegetarian recipe, was hearty, 'meaty', and warming. I made it exactly as the recipe called for, and wouldn't change a thing next time. We didn't even need to add any of the condiments. Thanks for a new favorite recipe!!

HS: Glad you liked it Sue! Stay warm :)


January 15, 2009

This soup was so amazing! I was inspired to make it the other night on a particularly chilly night in Connecticut.

The only thing was I didn't have dried mushrooms but substituted with fresh sauteed in olive oil/butter in a skillet until golden brown. Then instead of granulated salt I used "shoyu" sauce to add depth of color and flavor.

It was absolutely the BEST soup I have had in years. So good in fact, I'm making it again tonight!

Keep the great recipes coming-vegetarians everywhere are grateful.



January 15, 2009

I made this soup tonight, it was good! I am not a huge fan of potatoes in soup, but put them in anyway.
The flavor is really nice, but I will definitely leave out the potatoes next time and opt for something with more to it like wild rice.


January 16, 2009

I would recommend this with risotto, no potato, add a bit of cream and Parmesan.


January 16, 2009

Thanks, Heidi, for yet another knock-out recipe. And so easy to make!

Given the arctic blast we've been experiencing in Chicago, this post came at the perfect time. I made it last night with a couple of substitutions, and have already filed it under "favorites."

I couldn't find dried porcini mushrooms at the nearest store, and, with the sub-zero temperatures outside, I just wasn't willing to look any further. So when I saw dried shitakes I decided to try them. I also forgot to buy shallots, so I used a small yellow onion that I had in the house. The final product was absolutely delicious. I can hardly wait to try it again with porcinis!

I agree with some of the other commenters regarding the oil-- it was just a tad too much for me. Next time I might cut it back to 1/4 cup. As for the potatoes... I enjoyed the combination, but will probably try something else next time, for variety. I love the idea of crunchy/chewy wheat berries with the slurpy mushrooms!


January 17, 2009

This looks yummy and reminiscent of Deborah Madison's Mushroom Soup in her first volume. She used three kinds of mushrooms in that one. I love people's variations. I'll add other kinds of mushrooms, but not a lot of any one kind.


January 18, 2009

I made this today -- and I agree with Sue--Even tho this is vegetarian it is hearty and "meaty" in such a nourishing way. I added farro and chestnuts as suggested. I feel Heidi makes me "look good!"


January 20, 2009

I love mushrooms, but porcini mushrooms are about €8 for 60g in Ireland... can I do the same with shiitake mushrooms?


January 20, 2009

Made this a few minutes ago..it is incredible. However I must ask, where do you guys buy dried mushrooms in large quantities at a reasonable price? The only place I found dried mushrooms was at Whole Foods for $7 an ounce.


January 21, 2009

that was mint 2 eat


January 21, 2009

this little darling is on the stove right now. i picked up three different types of fresh mushrooms on my way home tonight and combined it with some dried ones as well. since i am out of salt, i used some miso paste in this instead and it seems to be working out beautifully. thank you ever so!


January 21, 2009

Slightly off topic here, but I'm wondering how I could incorporate these flavorful dried porcini into a bechamel sauce. Would any of you know? My instinct would be to soak them in the warm milk before adding to the roux. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


January 21, 2009

lauren, the miso is a good idea! i just made this and had to use almost 2 tablespoons of salt. it seemed like a lot but guess the boullion i normally use in soups has a bunch of salt in it. my partner called it "good peasant food" - yum!