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What to Cook When a Chef Comes For Dinner

My mother-in-law loved to gift me cookbooks. For my birthday, the year after we were married, she gave me a copy of Martha Stewart’s Entertaining. I read it cover-to-cover and studied each of the menus. The photography is beautiful and to this day, the themes and recipes hold up.

I was living in St. Thomas, USVI, working for a crewed yacht charter company. So many of our friends worked on luxury charter power and sailboats. It was a requirement of my job to interview the chef, experience a day on the boat and meet the captain, checking out the amenities on board. Tough gig, right? Between charters, our crew friends would come to hang out in our house and I would cook for them. Now, these chefs studied at Le Cordon Bleu and the Culinary Institute of America and they cooked meals in a tiny galley for discerning (and picky) charter guests. But, my husband would grill steaks (he's a genius on the Big Green Egg) and I'd make this soup. It was one of my fall fan favorites. It feeds 12, so I suggest you share some with a needy neighbor or friend who can use some TLC. Add a crusty baguette and enjoy!

French Mushroom Soup

Adapted from a recipe by Martha Stewart

1/2 cup minced shallots

1/3 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter

6 tablespoons flour

12 cups rich chicken broth

3 sprigs parsley  

1/2 bay leaf

Pinch of thyme

3 pounds mushrooms, trimmed and sliced very thin

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 egg yolks

1 cup whipping cream

microgreens for garnish

Cook the shallots in 4 tablespoons butter until soft. Stir in the flour and cook over low heat for four minutes without browning. Add the broth, blending it completely with the flour. Add the parsley, bay leaf, and thyme and simmer for 20 minutes. Melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter and a large pan. Toss the mushrooms in the butter with salt and lemon juice and cook five minutes. Add the mushrooms to the broth and simmer five minutes. If not to be used immediately, set aside. Reheat to below the simmer. Beat the egg yolks and cream until blended. Stir a cup full of the hot soup into the cream mixture. Add the cream to the soup and heat to below the simmer. If the soup simmers, the yolks will curdle. Taste for seasonings. Serve immediately and garnish with microgreens from the Roswell Farmers & Artisans Market.

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