I suppose it's the same with Anthony Bourdain. We've all watched Tony travel the world eating his way into someone else's culture. Most people had already read Kitchen Confidential, the book that made him The Anthony Bourdain. I've read much about it but I don't think I should read it yet. (A pretty good idea for a Christmas present within budget, though.) I was more interested in his Les Halles Cookbook and had finally added it to my collection last July. It was first published nine years ago but I'm glad to read it now, not any earlier. Otherwise I wouldn't have understood nor appreciated his wisdom and humour. Just look at the tags - they are recipes either done or to-be-done.
Adapted from Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
200 g white button mushrooms, roughly cut
200 g Swiss brown mushrooms, roughly cut
60 g Shiitake mushrooms
1200 ml vegetable stock
1 teaspoon herbes de Provence
salt and pepper
(Optional) 200 ml cream
(Optional) A few drops of truffle oil
Heat a large heavy-based pot on medium-high heat, adding the oil and butter. When the butter stops bubbling, add the onion and cook until soft (be careful not to brown it). Add the mushrooms, mix thoroughly and let it sweat for about 10 minutes. Add the stock and herbes de Provence. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 45 minutes.
Allow the soup to cool for a few minutes. Using an immersion blender, process the soup in short pulses while ensuring the blades are fully immersed. Go easy with the blending - the soup has more texture when there are bits of mushrooms left to be, well, bitten. (If your pot is too big and the soup is too shallow to fully immerse the blades, tilt the pot by lifting one handle when you blend closer to the other.)
Once blended, season to taste with salt and pepper. Closer to serving time, bring the soup up to a simmer and stir in the cream, if using. Otherwise, ladle the soup into individual bowls and add a few drops of truffle oil, if using. Serve immediately.