Bread & Mushroom Soup
4 tablespoons butter, bacon fat or olive oil
1 large or 2 medium yellow onions, cut into small dice
3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced — Kosher salt — Black pepper in a mill
8 ounces specialty mushrooms, preferably maitake or black chanterelles, broken into bite-sized pieces
3/4 cup dry white wine
8 cups homemade stock (chicken, duck or mushroom)
1 bay leaf
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
5-6 cups sturdy hearth bread, torn into small pieces
6 ounces (1½ cups) grated cheese, such as St. George, Vella Mezzo- Secco, Fontina or similar cheese
Put the butter or olive oil into a medium saucepan or soup pot set over medium-low heat, add the onions, and sauté until very soft and fragrant; do not let the onions brown. Add the garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms, turn to coat them with butter, and add the white wine. Increase the heat to medium and simmer until the mushrooms begin to soften and the wine is nearly completely reduce.
Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf, stir and simmer gently for about 15 minutes. Taste, correct for salt and pepper and stir in the Italian parsley and thyme. Stir in the bread, remove from the heat, cover and let rest15 minutes.
To serve, use tongs to remove and discard the bay leaf. If the soup seems too thick, stir in about ½ to ¾ cup water and heat through.
Ladle into soup bowls or soup plates, top with cheese and enjoy right away.
Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including "The Good Cook’s" series. Email her at email@example.com