Cremini Mushroom & Leek Soup

The soup in question.

The soup in question.

I had a lovely lunch recently at a newish restaurant in San Carlos called Johnston’s Salt Box that consisted of a phenomenal Green Curry Steak Sandwich and a light yet hearty Mushroom Leek Soup.

After all the traveling I’ve done in the last few weeks, that soup was just what I needed. It was earthy yet fresh and felt comforting yet new. It’s rare to find mushroom soups that aren’t filled with cream. My husband and I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to dissect the soup, including its nuances.

I think we came pretty damn close. Served with some crusty fresh bread and sweet cream butter, this was the best post-travel supper to both make AND eat.

Cremini Mushroom & Leek Soup
12 oz. sliced cremini mushrooms
2 leeks (light green and white parts only), cleaned and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and diced
4 cups chicken stock
1/4 tsp. dried thyme
Zest of 1/2 a lemon, grated
1 Tbsp. butter
Olive oil
Salt and Pepper

Heat 2 Tbs. olive oil over medium heat in a Dutch oven until it shimmers. Sauté carrots for about 3 mins. Add in mushrooms and a pinch of salt to draw out their moisture, and sauté another 7 mins. Until softened but not soggy. Empty the mixture into a bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in the same Dutch oven over medium high heat and add the leeks, along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sauté until softened, about 5 mins. Add back the mushroom/carrot mixture along with any juices, the dried thyme, the chicken stock, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Bring up to a boil and simmer for 20 mins.

Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon zest. Season additionally to taste if necessary. Pour in a nice dash (about 1-2 Tbs.) of good extra virgin olive oil. Serve immediately with some fresh bread. Serves 4-6.