Duck Soup with Wild Mushrooms

By Elizabeth Gawthrop Riely I like to save leftover bones, cooked or not, from duck, saving them until I have enough for this soup. Don’t be put off by the ingredients list, including the gingerroot. It’s just duck stock, with mushrooms added later. Admittedly, the directions are a bit vague.

If you make the confit in my duck confit recipe, the leftover duck stock works perfectly here. Peasant cooking makes use of everything, yet this duck soup is deeply delicious and elegant enough for a holiday party.

Makes 8 to 12 servings.

INGREDIENTS 2 duck carcasses plus whatever leftover bones you happen to have 1 large onion, peeled and chopped 1 stalk celery, chopped 1 carrot, peeled and chopped 2 inches fresh gingerroot, peeled and sliced 4 little inner garlic cloves 4 stems parsley 3 stems fresh thyme 1 bay leaf 6 black peppercorns 1½ ounces dried porcini mushrooms About 12 ounces mixed fresh wild mushrooms, or a mix of cultivated and wild 2-3 tablespoons butter 3 scallions or shallots, finely chopped ¼ cup dry sherry, if desired Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS Put all the duck bones in a very large pot. Add fresh cold water to cover generously. Heat over low flame nearly to a bubble, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

Add all the vegetables and seasonings and simmer for 2 hours more. Let it cool. Strain the liquid through a sieve into a very large bowl and, after letting all the liquid pass through, discard the solids. Cover and chill the liquid overnight.

Lift off and discard the fat on the surface. At this point, I like to pour the stock into a fresh pot, leaving out the residue on the bottom, and reduce the liquid over high heat. Cool and chill; it will be jellied. You don’t need to skim off the very small layer of fat on top. (This makes about 8 cups; the stock can be made well ahead of  time and frozen.)

Put the dried porcini in a bowl and pour boiling water over to cover, at least 1½ cups. Let it sit for 30 minutes or more, until cooled. Then strain through a fine sieve, pressing on the porcini solids with the back of a spoon; discard the porcini solids, keeping all the flavorful broth.

Meanwhile, wipe to clean the wild mushrooms and slice them as appropriate for their shape, not all just the same. Melt the butter in bottom of a large pot and sauté the mushrooms, stirring, until they give off their liquid and begin to color. Add the minced shallots/scallions and sauté briefly until softened. Add the sherry, if desired, and cook to let the alcohol evaporate. Add the strained porcini broth and duck stock. Slowly heat to let the flavors come together and bring it close to a boil. Add salt to taste (it will need a fair amount) and pepper.

To serve, ladle the soup into warm bowls. You can add thinly sliced green scallion rings on top if you wish.