Wookiee Hut Cuisine presents:
Aule's Ambrosia: Quick-Thinking Two-Boil Mushroom Soup
"Enough!" Gimli said forcefully. "I've heard enough. You hobbits claim that no one but yourselves can truly appreciate mushrooms." He stood up and glared at the four hobbits across the camp fire, while the rest of the party turned and stared at him in amazement. "My people have been cultivating the most amazing variety of mushrooms since Durin was woken under the mountains by the Lord Aule." Walking around the fire and standing with his fists on his hips, he continued his tirade, " Why, we have a soup created from a blending of these jewels of the deep ... We call it Aule's Ambrosia!"
The members of the Fellowship, accompanied by Aragorn and Arwen, Faramir and Eowyn, Galadriel and Celeborn, and Elrond, and Eomer, now King of Rohan, were escorting the body of King Theoden back to Rohan from Gondor to lay him to rest in the land of his fathers. Once this was done, the Fellowship would truly finally part forever. But for the time being, the friendly raillery about what they ate on their journey continued.
"I know the Glittering Caves near Helm's Deep will have exactly what I need to make this soup. Once you've tasted it, you will never wish for another mushroom soup again."
Over the next few days, until they reached Meduseld, Gimli repeated his claims so often, the hobbits prevailed upon Gandalf to ask him to stop at least till he could prove his claim. (Gandalf demurred, smiling that the hobbits could not seem to tolerate a taste of their own medicine!)
Once King Theoden was laid to rest, Gimli sought and received permission from Eomer, who was also curious about this magical concoction, to gather the mushrooms he needed. He took Legolas with him, since he had made Legolas promise to visit the Caves with him anyway. They returned to Meduseld a few days later laden with a huge basket of colorful mushrooms. "Now, my young hobbits, you will taste this miracle," he said as he took over the kitchen of the Golden Hall.
Sam, Merry, and Pippin could hardly hold themselves back as Gimli began chopping and slicing, narrating as he went. "No soup is worth anything without the garlic," he said as he smashed the cloves with his knife to loosen the papery skin. The onions and sliced mushrooms went into the pot next, then the seasonings and the hearty beef broth he found in another pot on another hearth. (He'd also harassed Legolas for some Elven spices that were being carried for the feeding of the noble persons accompanying the fellowship ... he didn't strictly need them, but he wanted this soup to be more than good ... Gimli wanted nothing short of amazing! "That'll teach those hobbits!")
"Now, we wait," he said as he stirred the pot.
They sat talking about their incredible odyssey and eventually went outside to distract themselves from the mouthwatering smell emanating from the pot. Suddenly, Gimli sniffed the air and gasped, "The soup!" He bolted back inside to the hearth and grabbed the pot from the cauldron hook.
The hobbits had run inside behind him. They looked into the pot and saw that the liquid had almost completely cooked away. Seeing the looks on their faces, Gimli, who had also been dismayed but was too proud to show it, declared, "Perfect! Just in time for the second brewing!"
The dwarf was so busy adding more water and some wine to the pot that he didn't see Legolas and Aragorn rolling their eyes at each other at this gaff. "Not long now, lads," bellowed Gimli, who hoped and hoped all would be all right!
Indeed, a short time later, he served the hearty, dark mixture to small and mighty alike. The soup had benefitted from the concentration of the "first step" and had a caramelized sweeter, more intense flavor and aroma! (Gilmi was very careful not to show his surprise.)
All agreed that it was truly the most savory, delicious soup they'd ever had. "If my Gaffer could have a taste of this," Sam started ... and stopped. There were just no words to describe this Ambrosia of the gods.
And, they'd learned a valuable lesson about going on at length about hobbit food if you do it right, you might get someone else to make something even better!
If too much liquid cooks away, add 1 to 1 ½ cups of water. Add the white wine and salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 10 minutes. To add some body to the soup, spoon out about 1 cup of the mushrooms draining the liquid back into the pot. Put the mushrooms into a food processor or blender and pulse to desired consistency. Pour this back into the soup and stir to combine.
Makes 6 servings.
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