This creamy mushroom soup adds a smoky touches via a choice of two toppings. Top with either a spoonful of Smoky Crumble, which has bacon and smoked almonds in the mix, or a Smoked Paprika Oil that almost feels like bacon, for the non-meat eaters in your crowd.

Have you ever foraged for mushrooms? My family has a house in upstate New York in a Slovak community which my father established in the ’70s. Picking mushrooms is practically a sport with this group, and competition is fierce. Trespassing, secret locales, and showing off the latest finds all happen during the month of September. After the hunt, my father would preserve the mushroom bounty in two ways. He would slice the mushrooms and leave them out in the sun to dry, or he would freeze them to have on hand to add to stews, soups—or his specialty, a brisket—throughout the winter. Learn about the mushrooms in your area, you’ll find that foraging is a blast.

For bigger gatherings, serve this soup in tea cups, so a little goes a long way. The smoky tones will add to the look of your buffet.

If you like the taste of smoke in your foods, see more recipes in our Smoky Party theme.

MAKES 6 FULL SERVINGS OR 12 TEA CUP SERVINGS

COOK THE MUSHROOMS

3 TB butter
1 onion, diced

2 LB mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 sprigs thyme, minced
1 TB smoked salt
bay leaf

1 CUP white wine

In a nice big skillet, cook over medium heat 10 min. Add mushrooms and spices, cook 5 min. Add wine, cook another 5 min.

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MAKE IT SOUP

4 CUPS chicken stock

In a large pot, add the cooked mixture to chicken stock. Cook at low temp covered 30 min.

MAKE IT CREAMY

1 CUP half + half
s + p

Remove bay leaf. In batches, blend until smooth. Stir in half and half, adjust s + p.

RECIPE CREAMY MUSHROOM SOUP WITH SMOKY CRUMBLE

recipe

smoky crumble

A super versatile topping for adding a smoky slant to many dishes. In addition to using it as a topping for the creamy mushroom soup, try it on cheese board, say sprinkling onto goat cheese smeared onto figs or dried dragon fruit. Other uses: throw into salads, especially spinach or arugula, and for those who love savory in their desserts, add a spoon to vanilla ice cream.

MAKES ROUGHLY 3/4 cup

COOK THE BACON

4 strips of bacon

Quick way: In microwave, cook bacon between paper towels till very crisp (ovens vary, so start with about 20 sec per slice, then add time till crisp). The paper towels soak up all the oil, leaving perfectly straight strips. If cooking in a pan, be sure to cook thoroughly and blot on paper towels to remove moisture.

GET OUT THE FOOD PROCESSOR

cooked bacon
1/2 CUP smoked almonds
2 sprigs oregano, strip leaves from stem
1 tsp smoked salt

Process ingredients in pulses till you get uniform tiny bits. Don’t over process, the nuts will start to turn into nut butter.

We've got more recipes with smoky ingredients to wow guests with, check it out in 01 Smoked