Willow Harvest Wild Mushroom Cream Soup:
1 package of dried "Wild Mushroom Cream Soup Mix" from Willow Harvest Organics or: 1 oz. dried Porcini, 1 oz. dried Shiitake, and 1/2 oz. dried Maitake.
12 cups low sodium fat-free chicken broth
2 tbsp. good olive oil
1/2 lb. plus 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
2 large chopped yellow onion
5-6 chopped carrots
4 tsp. dried thyme
4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green portions (approximately 4 leeks)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups half and half
2 cups heavy cream
2 tbsp. dried parsley
*Beef or vegetable broth may be substituted
**Extra broth or water may be substituted
Rehydrate mushrooms (pour approximately 4-5 cups of warm chicken broth over dried mushrooms and soak for approximately 15-20 minutes until tender to almost tender, liquid should completely cover the dried mushrooms). Take mushrooms out of broth and gently squeeze excess broth from them; reserve all broth for later use. Chop mushrooms into desired size pieces (I like to see big chunks of vegetables in my soup, so I chop mine into pretty good size pieces). Set aside for later use.
Heat olive oil and 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large stock pot. Add approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of the rehydrated mushrooms, onion, carrot, and 1 teaspoon of thyme, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1 teaspoon of pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 12 cups of chicken broth (reserved chicken broth from rehydrating mushrooms and enough extra to make a total of 12 cups). Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/2 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, until the leeks soften begin to turn a light brown color. Add the remaining mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Add 1/2 cup flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and stir for a minute while scraping the bottom of the pot. Add this mixture to the large stock pot of chicken broth and mix well. Add 1 teaspoon of thyme, 3 teaspoons of salt, and 2 teaspoons of pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Add half-and-half, cream, parsley, season with more salt and pepper to taste, and heat through but do not boil.
(This recipe doubles easily and freezes nicely for future meals.)