On Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, the 13th, The 23rd Annual Mushroom Festival was held in Kennett Square. The Best of Food was there on Saturday to enjoy the amateur soup competition. The rules were simple, yet difficult. The contestants could use only 12 ingredients (including salt and pepper) and had just 1 hour, start to finish, to prepare their final entry.
There were 5 entries this year:
- Scarlett’s Herbed Mushroom Soup
- Big Sam’s Mushroom Sausage Gumbo
- Better than Creamy Herbed Mushroom Soup
- Thick and Savory Mushroom Soup
- Mushroom Overload Soup
The Thick and Savory Mushroom Soup that took 3rd place was a creamless soup that was mixed to a level of thickness that could hold a wooden spoon straight up, unassisted. While it was rich in color, the flavor did not deliver with the same level of intensity and was surprisingly flat in comparison to its appearance. It would seem that the level of starch used to thicken the soup diluted the prominent flavors .
Big Sam’s Mushroom Sausage Gumbo was the 2nd place winner. The soup prepared by this apparent Food Network fan, although delicious, did not speak “mushroom” to me. It was a very good gumbo, however, the flavor of the mushroom was transparent. It seemed to me that Big Sam makes a good gumbo so he decided to throw some mushrooms in it and enter a mushroom soup competition.
The winner was The Mushroom Overload Soup with Crispy Mushroom Balls.
Mushroom Overload Soup
Submitted by Jacqueline McComas from Paoli, PA
3 8 oz pkg. sliced mushrooms, divided
1 large egg
1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
Freshly ground pepper
1 -1/4 tsp thyme, divided
1 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped, loosely packed, plus sprigs for garnish
1-1/2 cup chicken stock (plus more if you like it thinner)
2 cup (1 pint) heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
1. Pulse each package of mushrooms separately in food processor until finely chopped and place in one large bowl.
2. To prepare Mushroom Balls: Remove one cup of processed mushrooms to medium bowl and add egg, bread crumbs, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 teas pepper, and 1/4 tsp thyme (crush between fingers) and combine with spoon.
3. Place 4 tablespoons oil in large fry pan, heat and add about twenty-four 1-inch mushroom balls made by using measuring teaspoon against side of bowl and gently shaping into balls; saute on medium, turning once or twice with a fork to make them crispy; drain on paper towels; set aside and keep warm.
4.To prepare Creamy Mushroom Soup: heat 1 tsp oil in 4 to 5 quart soup pot and add processed mushrooms, onions, and parsley, stirring occasionally on high for 10 minutes or until onions are translucent and mushroom juices are evaporated and almost dry.
5. Add chicken stock, cream, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and 1 teaspoon thyme.
6. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes.
7. Place 1/4 cup of creamy soup in a cup with cornstarch, stir; return to soup.
8. Bring to a boil; simmer, stirring, until soup is slightly thick, about 5 minutes.
9. Ladle hot creamy soup into each shallow bowl, adding a portion of mushroom balls, and garnish with a sprig of parsley.
If you decide tto give the recipe a shot, give us a shout and let us know how it turned out!
For more pictures from the entire festival go The Best Of Food Facebook Page.