Y'all, look how fed up the pope looks in that photo with the Trumps! (The Pope? Do I capitalize that? Or do I leave it lowercase because I don't actually have a lot of respect for duder and the literal patriarchy of the Catholic church as a knowing and enthusiastic global agent of the systemic oppression of gay, lesbian, transgender and queer people and women?) Ayyyyyy, let's talk about soup. And the Pope/pope.
Ol' friendo does not appear to be having the best time—although, given whatever cry for help Melania Trump is trying to signal out from under the doily she stole off the Grim Reaper, Francis looks comparatively like he's about to meet the Easter Bunny.
But we stage photo-ops with the president we have, not the president we want, here in the everloving year of 2017. And when we have a questionable bag of bargain-bin mushrooms fungigating in the bottom of the crisper, we make the best mushroom soup we can under the circumstances.
This mushroom soup is very good, actually—a reminder that when the people tasked with making sure the president is not a foreign agent using the literal executive office to enrich himself by taking food and health care out of the hands of literally millions of people, and specifically children, are not just yellow-bellied cowards but yellow-bodied-and-brained cowards, we have to take our moments of comfort wherever we can get them, with whatever we have available at the time.
And chicken fat helps.
4 cups of roughly chopped fresh mushrooms
1 bulb of fennel, roughly chopped
half an onion, roughly chopped
two cloves of garlic, minced
sprig of lemon thyme
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup half & half
1/4 cup sherry or marsala wine
3 tablespoons butter
1–2 cups stale bread, cubed
1 tablespoon chicken fat
whipped cream cheese or creme fraiche (for serving)
salt and pepper
Melt two tablespoons of butter in a soup pot over medium heat. Toss in your mushrooms and some salt and pepper and stir and sweat for up to 10 minutes, until they're nice, soft and browned. Toss in the fennel and the onions and sautée for another five minutes until they're soft, then throw in the garlic and cook until fragrant. Crank up the heat to high, pour in the sherry or wine, and burn off the booze for a couple of minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and the half & half and bring to a boil, then add the bay leaf and thyme, reduce the heat, and simmer for 20–30 minutes. In the meantime, melt the chicken fat in a sautée pan and toss in the stale bread cubes to coat and toast until they're crunchy and aromatic.
Season the soup to taste, then fish out the bay leaf and thyme and blend using an immersion blender until smooth-ish but not puréed. (You can also do this in a regular blender—just hold the lid down tight, you ding-dongs.) Stir in one more tablespoon of butter while it's still hot. Serve with the croutons and a dollop of whipped cream cheese or creme fraiche. Think about the pope's face, and laugh a little to yourself.
Resistance Kitchen is a blog about food, rage and politics at resistancekitchen.tumblr.com. Andrea Grimes is a journalist for hire, Bloody Mary expert and Texpat living in the Bay Area.