nothing quite like a bit of wild mushroom bisque with a savory pumpkin-shallot biscuit to take the edge off the cold and damp (emphasis on the damp today) and bring a little more warmth to these dwindling autumn days. Though I've made this soup before with only shiitakes and portabello mushrooms, I think I prefer the delicate combination of chanterelles and lobster mushrooms. The latter, true to their name, lend the flavour of shellfish to the soup, which pairs nicely with the apricot sweetness of the chanterelles. I add a little bit of shiitakes to ground the flavours with something a bit earthier.
Wild Mushroom Bisque
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 c. flour
about 2 c. loosely packed sliced chanterelle mushrooms
about 2 c. loosely packed sliced lobster mushrooms
about 1/2 - 3/4 c. loosely packed sliced shiitake mushrooms
3 Tbl. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbl minced fresh rosemary
1 c. cream sherry
3 c. vegetable stock
1 c. heavy whipping cream
2 c. nonfat milk
Use the butter and flour to prepare a roux: melt the butter in a small sautepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, to form a thick paste with a toasty smell. Do not let the roux darken. Set aside to cool.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms, onions, rosemary, and garlic. Saute over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and burning, until the mushrooms and onions have softened and begun to caramelize, about 10-15 minutes.
Add the sherry and cook until liquid has reduced by half. Add the stock, milk and cream. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to keep the soup at a simmer. Stir in the roux a tablespoon at a time until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. You will probably need all of the roux, but feel free to make a thinner soup if that's your preference.
Puree the soup in a blender or food processor. Return to pan and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Savory Pumpkin Biscuits with Chives and Caramelized Shallots
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1-2 Tbl. olive oil
2 1/2 c. flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 Tbl. (1/2 stick) cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c. pumpkin
1/4 c. milk
5 scallions (green onions), dark green ends only, chopped
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit
Heat olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Add shallots and reduce heat to medium-low. Saute until deeply caramelized and crispy. (Note: you can prepare the biscuits while these cook, just keep an eye on them and keep stirring occasionally as necessary to prevent sticking/burning). Drain on paper towels. Chop or crumble between fingers.
Meanwhile in separate large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in butter pieces with pastry blender or fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add pumpkin and milk and combine to make a soft dough, adding more flour as necessary if mixture is too sticky.
Work chopped chives and crumbled shallot into the dough, then turn dough out onto a floured work surface and knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Roll out to 1/2 to 3/4" thick and cut into small rounds (I used a small-mouth mason jar as a cutter; you could also use a glass or - of course - a proper biscuit cutter).
Place biscuits on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment. Allow some space for rising, though the pumpkin seems to prevent them from puffing up too much, so you don't need to space them more than 1" apart. Bake at 425 for 15-17 minutes, or until they have turned golden (or really, a slightly deeper shade of orange).