Cream of Mushroom and Potato Soup

January is a terrible time if you enjoy looking at cooking magazines… it’s all kale and quinoa… poached and boiled… penance on a plate; so I’m offering a stick-to-the-ribs soup with carbs and cream and all that good stuff our bodies crave during the coldest month of the year. Very slightly adapted from Food Network. Leave out the bacon and use vegetable stock to make this vegetarian.

5 slices bacon, cut into little pieces
2 T butter
1 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 1/2 lbs mixed mushrooms (I used white button and shitake)
2 medium potatoes, diced
2 T flour
1/2 cup dry sherry
4 -6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
chopped parsley for garnish

Cook the bacon in a large pot until crisp; remove to a paper-towel lined bowl and pour off all but about 1 T of the fat. Saute the onions in the bacon fat along with 2 T butter until they are very soft, about 8-10 minutes. This will make your kitchen smell like food heaven. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the mushrooms and some salt and cook over high heat until the mushrooms have released their liquid and that liquid has evaporated. Stir in the diced potato, a bit more salt and sprinkle with the flour. Add the sherry and cook for a minute or so over high heat. Add the stock and bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the cream and simmer another 10 minutes. Puree the soup either in a blender (which will yield a smoother soup) or use an immersion blender. Add pepper and more salt if needed. I like to season almost all soups with Vegeta so if you have it, go ahead and use some. Garnish with the parsley and bacon bits.

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