Paris Mushroom Soup

Online recipe reviews are not only a tipping point when it comes to selecting one recipe over the other, they are also great platforms for passing culinary judgment. Epicurious could publish their own twitter feed “S**t our readers do- to our recipes.”

For just about every recipe you’ll find reviews that cause you to pause, wondering why the cook even tried the recipe in the first place.

“I don’t really like onions, so I didn’t add them to the french onion soup. It was ok, but lacked any real flavor.” Or, “I’m allergic to dairy and tried to use soy milk in the homemade ricotta cheese and it totally didn’t work. I won’t use this recipe again.” Um, hello?

These reviews generally get a litany of snarky responses. Summed up: “you can’t change the ingredients then say the recipe sucks.” And the snarks are right.

Such was my fear with the Parisian Mushroom Soup. As I stated in my last post, I’m committed to the E2 diet for the month: no dairy, no animal protein, no processed sugars or oils, and plant strong. I didn’t want to be one of those reviewers. Thankfully I needed only make a few edits to Dorie’s Paris Mushroom Soup to fit my diet’s guidelines. Good bye butter and chicken stock. Welcome canola oil in a can and vegetable stock.

No surprise the soup came together quickly and seamlessly. The petite salad of mushrooms, chopped herbs, salt and pepper waiting to be covered in soup was elegant enough to silence the voice inside me begging instead for swiss cheese blistered croutons. What struck me after the first few spoonfuls, was how the two soups I’ve made from Dorie’s book allow the  vegetable to shine, unmasked by heavy cream or an overpowering chicken broth.

I remember watching a food personality, I think it was Mark Bittman, interviewing Ferran Adrian at El Buli. Adrian was making his famous olives- green olives that had been liquified in a high power blender and dropped by the teaspoon in to a water bath containing sodium alganate. After coddling the olive liquid with his finger, a bright green oblong orb was plucked from the water and presented to Bittman to try. “It is thought you are biting into the best, most flavorful olive you’ve ever tried.” The chef explained.

That’s dumb. It thought. Why wouldn’t you just eat an olive? Yet, here in my living room, balancing my 4 month old in my lap, sipping soup delicately as to not let a single drop land on her, I got it. Bite after bite, mushroom washed across my tongue. It was as though I was eating the purest, most flavorful, fantastic mushroom ever. It was an awakening.

The lesson in all this? When reviewing recipes online, fess up. You didn’t like the dish is because you cut out MVP ingredients. Don’t roll your eyes at molecular gastronomy. And Dorie is pretty much the bee’s knees.

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8 comments
  1. marsha said:

    Yes, while I used the chicken broth and butter, it was wonderful the way the mushrooms shone through. A perfect balance of ingredients. I will make this recipe again I’m sure.

  2. Loved your post! you are so right. Follow the recipe, then you can comment on the recipe. change it too much and you need to fess up! Love the El Buli reference also and totally agree that this soup catches the “essence” of what it is to be a mushroom.

  3. gaaarp said:

    I agree with you 100% about people who change up recipes and then complain about them. That’s one of the reasons I find reviews of recipes published on a lot of sites (like Food Network) to be almost useless.

    This was a great recipe just as it was written, and one I know I will return to many times.

  4. Teresa said:

    Swapping out ingredients can become ridiculous, sometimes. It’s great to adapt a recipe to your needs, as you did, though.

  5. Kathy said:

    I loved your post. I agree with you about changing too much…I always try to follow the recipe the first time out and then tweek…..except when I made the Pumpkin Flans and I still regret I didn’t follow the recipe! I plan on trying them again! Glad you enjoyed the soup.

  6. Ronda said:

    Oh I do hate listening to the swappers complain about a recipe. The one that annoys me the most is the “applesauce for half the oil” swap that then brings the “but it was so dry” complaint. However, in your case I think you made a perfectly acceptable swap. I loved hearing about the “olives” too. That is exactly what this soup is like!

  7. Trix said:

    You are so totally right about the swapping. I think also people need to recognize their biases – if you don’t like an ingredient, and yet a recipe is “about” that ingredient, don’t complain that you don’t like the dish! Nice post and perspective!

  8. Cher said:

    I changed out the vegetable stock for chicken and I absolutely loved how it turned out. I agree that you have to be self-aware about change-ups! I know that I am a habitual fiddler, so Imy first assumption is that it is somehow my fault when something doesn’t work.

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