Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mushroom and Sausage Soup - Melissa Gillen-style.

As is obvious, my time and dedication to this blog has been less than satifactory due to obligations to my real job and family.  I find it difficult to write down my recipes and actually get them posted.  So I'm reaching out to friends to make guest posts and keep this thing going.  The first person to contribute is Melissa Gillen. She made a delicious mushroom soup the same day I did, so I asked her to send the recipe along with whatever she would like to write about.  I'm very excited about this because so many people have so much to contribute and it's great to get to know what is going on in our friends' minds and kitchens!  So without further ado, Melissa Gillen:

When Jen asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I was stoked.  When she told me the world was my oyster in regards to what I would write, I immediately thought, “Most excellent… I shall talk of CrossFit!” Because really, what is better than CrossFit?!

I’m a big fan of CrossFit women…. CrossFit gents, yeah, they’re pretty awesome, but there is nothing better than a CrossFit woman.   I go to our box at 11:00.  I affectionately refer to the 11:00 class as “The 11 o’clock power hour” because well, it’s a powerful thing. The 11:00 class is predominately made up of female athletes. There is an occasional male, brave souls amidst a sea of lulu clad, estrogen crazed ladies punishing barbells while listening to obscene rap music.  It’s my favorite class. Not because it is most convenient with my schedule, or because Sam coaches it, but because of the women.  I love watching what CrossFit does to women. 

When we first start, we are timid, we stand in our spot on the floor or in front of the cage arms clutching our stomachs, eyes darting around the room, pausing for a moment to look upon the veterans… we are unsure of our bodies, our form… we move awkwardly and with extreme control and caution… In the beginning we cannot even fathom the idea that someday soon, we will be stronger, faster, our form taking shape as our bodies do as well… In the beginning all we know is that we show up every day and try our very hardest. 

Some days suck.  I mean REALLY suck.  CrossFit demands so much from us, mentally, physically, emotionally, and we gladly give it.  But there are those days where we feel we have failed, or let someone – ourselves, our coach, our fellow CrossFitters – down.  It’s the days that suck the most where the changes start happening.  Especially for women. 

We get more brave, more courageous.  We know what “the suck” feels like, we know it’ll be ok, and that the screams of encouragement from those around us will help us through.  So we stick our necks out… we add more weight… we go to the half band… we try the 44#... we try. We support each other fiercely.  We love one another shamelessly. This is why I love the 11 so much.  I get to bear witness on a daily basis to women becoming more powerful, more confident, more courageous, and more beautiful.  I count it a privilege and a blessing to do so. 

CrossFit women can’t be beat.  The friends I have made through CrossFit are the ones who know me best, and love me anyway.  They’ve seen me curse and cry and fail… and they love me anyway – in fact, they love me more because of it. CrossFit women are, dare I say, the most passionate, loving, supportive and beautiful women out there.  We are a tribe.  A courageous, powerful, beautiful tribe… a tribe I am so very proud to be a part of.   

Ok… whew… love letter to CrossFit women… and now, Mushroom and Sausage Soup.


Porcini Mushrooms (dried – I used Lucinda’s) reconstituted in water for 1 hour, then rough chop
Crimini Mushrooms (a dozen roughly) - rough chop
Portabella Mushrooms (2 large caps) - rough chop
Sausage (I used 1 package Sage and 1 package regular breakfast sausage)

Fresh Sage – 2 sprigs, roughly 8 leaves - rough chop

Fresh Thyme – 5-7 sprigs – rough chop

Shallots (3) – chop

Sweet Yellow Onion – ¼ - chop

Butter – 6 tablespoons

EVOO – a drizzle

Salt and Pepper – to taste

Nutmeg – just a sprinkle

Sherry Cooking Wine – ¼ Cup

Marsala Cooking Wine – ¼ Cup

Worcheshire Sauce – 4 teaspoons

Arrowroot - 4 Teaspoons (or so… depending on how thick you want it)

Beef Stock – 3 cups

Chicken Stock – 3 cups

Organic Heavy Whipping Cream - ½ Cup (not required, but seriously, if your tummy won’t hate you,


·         In a Dutch oven or large soup pot melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  Add your chopped shallot and onion – sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let that cook while you are chopping your mushrooms – don’t let your onion/shallot mixture brown.  That, would be a sad day.

·         Add your sausage, and drizzle it with a bit of EVOO.  Cook that awhile till your sausage is browned, take your time and separate the sausage into smaller chunks, or not, you can leave them big – whatever floats your boat. 

·         Add your mushrooms.  This will appear to be the largest amount of mushrooms ever – it is not.  They will cook down, your soup needs them.  Drizzle this mixture with another bit of EVOO.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 

·         When your mushrooms have cooked down, add your Sherry cooking wine, as well as your Worcheshire sauce.  Let it cook a minute or so… add your Arrowroot.  Incorporate the Arrowroot throughout the mixture – you will notice that it becomes thicker – this is good. 

·         Add your stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.  In the last 5 minutes, add the heavy whipping cream, mixing it throughout the soup.  Right before you serve it, add your last 2 tablespoons of butter.  Lightly stir to incorporate it throughout….

·         Taste it… Does it need more salt?  Pepper? Perhaps another dash of Marsala or Worcheshire?  Go with your gut, and add what you need to it… then… serve.  Savor.  Enjoy. 

This soup is even better the following day.  Also, I serve this with a spinach, pear, kiwi, and pomegranate salad with an apricot champagne vinaigrette.  BOMB.



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