Cream of Mushroom Soup, Kale & Apple Salad with Bacon & Candied Pecans


Cream of Mushroom Soup  |  Kale & Apple Salad with Bacon and Candied Pecans

Today began gray and rainy here in the San Francisco Bay area.  The dogs and I headed out for our daily walk early before the heavy showers {and, eventually, the hail!} arrived.  Strolling along, I found this little piece of sunshine tucked under a tree…


Tonight’s soup & salad dinner is hearty & satisfying…perfect for a chilly, wet evening!

Cream of Mushroom Soup {adapted from The Balthazar Cookbook}

  • 1 ounce, dried porcini mushrooms
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 sprigs of fresh thyme {bundled in cheesecloth}
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 large {or 6 small} garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 pound shiitake mushrooms stemmed, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup dry Vermouth
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  1. Soak the dry mushrooms in 1 cup of boiling water for 30 minutes, until plump.  With a slotted spoon, remove mushrooms to a separate bowl.  Place a double-layer of cheesecloth over a small bowl and pour the mushroom soaking liquid into the bowl {allowing the cheesecloth to catch any grit}.  Set the strained soaking liquid, as well as the reconstituted mushrooms aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.  When the oil is shimmering, add the thyme bundle and cook for a few minutes to infuse the oil.
  3. Add the onion, garlic, salt & pepper.  Cook for 5 minutes, until the onion is soft, translucent, but not brown.
  4. Turn the heat up to high and add the mushrooms.  Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the vermouth and cook, stirring constantly, until the liquid has been absorbed
  5. Add the broths and the reconstituted mushrooms, along with the soaking water {mushroom broth}.
  6. Simmer for 30 minutes.  Remove the thyme bundle and then add the cream and butter. With a hand-held immersion blender, purée the soup until smooth.  Keep at a very low simmer until ready to serve.

Dried Porcini Collage

Porcini Liquid Strained

Thyme bundle Collage

Mushroom Pile

Mushrooms sliced

Mushroom & Onion Chopped

Meanwhile…the Kale & Apple Salad with Bacon and Candied Pecans {adapted from Food &}…

  • 2 cups pecans
  • ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces, thickly-sliced bacon ~ coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons caper brine {from a jar of capers}
  • 3-4 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Granny Smith Apples, cored & diced
  • 1 large head radicchio, chopped
  • 8 ounces lacinato kale leaves {stems discarded}, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons snipped chives
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. In a bowl, cover the pecans with water.  Transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and drain, shaking out excess water.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the confectioner’s sugar, cayenne and 1½ teaspoons of salt.  Add the pecans & toss.  Once again, transfer to a fine-mesh sieve and shake off the excess coating.
  4. Arrange the pecans on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes, until the sugar is lightly caramelized and the pecans are golden.
  5. In a skillet, heat the oil and cook the bacon over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until bacon is browned, 5-6 minutes.  Remove bacon pieces {with a slotted spoon} to a plate lined with paper towels & pour pan-drippings into a large bowl.
  6. Add vinegar to the bacon drippings and whisk, adding caper brine, maple syrup, salt & pepper.  Add the apples, radicchio, kale, chives, tarragon and pecorino cheese and toss.  Mound the salad onto plates, garnish with the candied pecans and bacon & serve.

I started the candied pecans earlier this afternoon…

Candied Pecans Collage

The rest of the salad was easy…

Kale Apple Salad Collage

And our dinner plate this February evening…

Finished Plate

See you tomorrow…


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