Mike Ryan, sous chef at Elements restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey, may be a born-and-raised Jersey boy, but he's drawn to Japanese preparations and ingredients, and keeps bottles of good-quality soy sauce in his pantry at all times. After stints at The Ryland Inn and Circa, he joined the Elements team three and a half years ago, where the focus is thoughtful food that highlights high-quality ingredients. One of Ryan's go-to home recipes is a silky mushroom soup, which he serves with hunks of bread that he bakes himself.
Adapted from Mike Ryan, Elements, Princeton, New Jersey
Yield: Serves 6
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, divided
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1½ pounds cremini mushrooms, 1 pound finely chopped, ½ pound sliced
3 large fingerling potatoes, finely chopped
1 sprig thyme
1 dried bay leaf
¼ cup dry white wine
4 cups vegetable broth
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Crusty bread for serving
Fresh goat's-milk cheese (Chèvre), for serving
1. In a large, heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt 6 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chopped mushrooms, potatoes, thyme and bay leaf and continue to cook, stirring often, until all of the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Pour the wine into the pot; once it has been mostly absorbed, add the vegetable broth. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes. Turn off the heat.
4. In a medium skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the ½ pound sliced mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and set aside.
5. Blend the soup in batches in a blender or with an immersion blender (if using a regular blender, take care to pulse the soup at first to let off some heat before blending). Return the soup to a clean pot set over medium heat. Season with the soy sauce, salt and pepper and cook until warmed through. Divide the soup among soup bowls and sprinkle with some of the sautéed mushrooms. Serve with crusty bread and fresh goat's-milk cheese.