Saturday, November 16, 2013

Portobello Mushroom Soup with Goat Cheese

I'm focusing on soup this week as there is going to be a lot of it in my very near future. For the last 16 years I've been waging an ongoing battle with osteoarthritis. First it claimed my right hip. Two years ago a deteriorated disk in my lower spine allowed a cyst to grow on my spinal cord. In the last month I've endured ferocious pain in my right shoulder and both of my hands are numb. But of course, that's nothing that eight Vicodin a day can't handle.

The shoulder pain is caused by the arthritis that has claimed vertebra C6 in my neck. The disk has deteriorated and slid into my spinal cord.  The surgery is really no big deal and I have no anxiety about it, but I do find the procedure incredibly interesting. To get at C6, they actually go in through the front of my neck. They move the neck muscles to one side and then move the esophagus and trachea to the other side. Now you can't beat good fun, can you?

Next they are going to remove C6, that stupid little vertebra who could not keep up his side of the bargain. This relieves the pressure on my spinal cord. Then they take a dead guy's bone from the bone bank and shape it to fit the space that C6 should have been filling. (This bone has no living tissue so there is no chance of rejection). Finally, they take a titanium plate (to complement the five pounds of titanium already in my hip, which has provided the TSA with copious amounts of wand practice) and fuse the new C6 with my old C7 so that everything is stabilized.

It appears that the only downside of Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion is from the moving of the trachea and esophagus. Most people have a sore throat and a "lump in the throat" sensation that lasts about two weeks. So that means lots of soup in my diet. So today, I'm going to share one of my favorite soup recipes. It's kind of like cream of mushroom soup taken to the power of 100. This Wine Spectator recipe has an incredible list of mouth started watering just by reading them! So make this soup. I will be doing that later this week. And see you later C6, you little piece of worthless sh*t...don't let my esophagus hit you on your way out of my neck.

2 slices apple-wood smoked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
5 shallots, peeled and minced
1 1/2 heads garlic
1/2 medium leek, cleaned and cut into 1/2 inch slices
5 portobello mushroom caps, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 bottle Pinot Noir
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
2 cups cream
1 1/2 tablespoons of butter
4 tablespoons goat cheese
1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped
2 tablespoons prosciutto, finely diced
1 tablespoon black truffle, diced


  1. In a heavy bottomed saucepan, sweat* the bacon, shallots, garlics and leeks until transparent, about 20 minutes.
  2. Add portobello mushrooms and continue to sweat until most of the moisture is out of the mushrooms.
  3. Add Pinot Noir and reduce wine by three-fourths.
  4. Cover mushrooms with chicken stock and reduce to a slow simmer, cooking for 45 minutes.
  5. Add cream and bring to a boil. Puree in batches in a blender, gradually adding butter.
  6. Season well and pass through a medium sieve. Adjust thickness with chicken stock, if needed.
  7. Divide among four bowls. Garnish with goat chives, chives, prosciutto and truffle.

*Sweating is cooking at low heat in a covered pan.

Wine pairing: Pinot Noir

What my new neck will look like.

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