After the overindulgences at Christmas, I don't really feel like cooking a lot. (And even the thought of sweets makes me slightly ill!) This is an easy, homey dinner that makes great leftovers as well. You could easily omit the dried mushrooms, but they seem to give the soup an even richer depth of flavour... along with the cognac, which is my new "secret" ingredient in almost everything. I like to keep the texture of this quite rustic, rather than making it a puree.
Mushroom Soup (serves 4):
1 litre vegetable or chicken stock
1 litre water
1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms
24 oz button mushrooms, chopped
1/4 cup butter
1 leek, finely chopped
salt & pepper
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/4 cup cream
3 tbsp cognac
Bring the stock, water, and dried mushrooms up to a boil in a large soup pot. While that is heating, fry the butter, leeks, and mushrooms until softened and browned. Dump that to the hot water and cook for about 1 hour, adding salt, pepper, and thyme to season. Pulse with an immersion blender until it's to your desired consistency, then add the the cream and cognac and bring it back up nearly to a boil.