Slow-Cooker Mushroom Soup with Sherry

Recipe By: Cooking Light VIA EATINGWELL
“Treat dinner guests to this premeal soup loaded with earthy, umami flavor from the mushrooms and soy sauce. Puréeing only some of the slow-cooker mushroom soup gives the dish complex texture and eye appeal. Garnish with additional black pepper and chopped fresh thyme, if desired.”

Ingredients

4 cups boiling water
2 cups dried porcini mushrooms (about 1½ ounces)
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon lower-sodium soy sauce
⅝ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups sliced shallots (about 8 ounces)
1 garlic clove, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 cup dry sherry
3 pounds assorted fresh mushrooms (such as cremini, portobello, shiitake, and button), sliced
1½ tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
⅓ cup heavy cream

Directions

Pour 2 cups of the boiling water over the porcini mushrooms. Let stand 20 minutes. Drain the porcini mushrooms in a colander over a bowl, reserving the mushroom broth; set the mushrooms aside. Strain the mushroom broth through a cheesecloth-lined colander into a bowl; discard the solids. Stir in the cornstarch, soy sauce, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 cups boiling water into the mushroom broth; set aside.
Heat the oil in a medium-sized nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the shallots and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the sherry; bring to a boil, and cook 30 seconds. Remove from the heat.
Stir together the porcini mushrooms, broth mixture, shallot mixture, fresh mushrooms, and thyme in a 5-quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH until the vegetables are very tender and the flavors blend, about 4 hours. Uncover and cook until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes. Transfer 2 cups of the soup to a blender. Remove the center piece of the blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure the lid on the blender. Place a clean towel over the opening in the blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth, about 10 seconds. Return the puréed soup to the slow cooker; gently stir in the cream. Ladle the soup into bowls, and serve hot.