The puffball mushrooms came early this year. We usually get them about mid September. A recent 4 inch rainfall and cold summer may have had something to do with it. So once again I found large puffballs in our woods. One was about the size of a soccer ball, one was the size of a basketball and one was the size of a large beach ball. This is the beach ball size mushroom.
I decided to leave that one and the smallest one in the woods. I picked the basketball size mushroom right at perfection. The skin was white and mostly unblemished and it was firm. This is the basketball size mushroom in my refrigerator. It weighed in at 4.5 pounds. For comparison in scale those beer cans are the taller 16 oz. pint size, not your normal 12 oz. size.
I took this mushroom and skinned it with a bread knife to cut away the parts exposed to bugs and dirt. That is a lot easier than trying to clean it. The remainder was still well over 3 pounds. I sliced it in half and put half away. With about a 1-1/2 lb slice I decided to make mushroom soup so I cubed it into chunks.
My recipe is thus:
Cream of Mushroom Soup - 2009 Puffball
1-1/2 lbs sliced, chopped and cubed puffball mushroom
1-1/2 (12 tbs) sticks of salted butter
1 cup chopped red onion
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups (32 oz) chicken broth
1 cup half and half
2 tbs spoons sherry
1/4 tps nutmeg
1/4 tps ground black pepper
Saute mushrooms and onion in butter in a large pot. Mushrooms will fill pot but saute down to about 1/4. Then add flour and chicken broth. Bring to boil one minute and then let simmer for 20 minutes. Add half and half, sherry, nutmeg and ground pepper. Heat to serve. Served with garlic toast and Nancy's spinach/bacon salad.
Here are the cubed mushrooms freshly put in the pot.
In less than 15 minutes they saute down to this.
After all the ingredients are added this is the final soup.
And now ready to serve with garlic toast and my wife's fresh made spinach/bacon salad. Optionally garlic croutons could be added to the soup.
I usually make mushroom soup every year with our puffballs. The flavor is subtle, rich and totally unlike any mushroom soup you can make with most mushrooms available in a supermarket. Having just seen the move Julie & Julia I upped the amount of butter in the recipe a half stick. You can't go wrong with butter.