Soups / Stews

Warm Me Up! Marsala Mushroom Bisque

This past weekend was a cold one for sure!!  The freeze baby I am though was happy as can be.  My bag was packed for a weekend trip to Florida.  As I hugged my son goodbye at the airport, snow lightly falling around us, my smile met his smirk with a “stay warm now” wish as I hurried myself inside!

I heard the temperature in Florida would be chillier than normal, but also knew it could only feel better than where I was.  Spring Breakers were not so happy when the Captain announced the current morning temperature in Florida to be 51 degrees!  Especially the boy sitting next to me ready to hit the beach in his flip flops, swim trunks and tank top!  By the time we landed it hit 58 degrees and as far as I was concerned, it was a gorgeous weekend!

So they say, all good things come to an end, or do they really?  I like to feel that they continue, in different ways, through the memories that touched my heart and bring a smile to my face even as I write this post.  No good times do continue and with luck, repeat again with even more special moments.

As for my son, he needed some warming up when I came home.  The fridge was pretty bare; a lonely package of portabella mushrooms sat on the shelve; my son obviously not having a clue what to do with them.  In a matter of minutes, earthy warming aromas filled my chilly home.  Yes, good times continue as we sat down to a big bowl of comfort and caught up on our weekend.

Marsala Mushroom Bisque

This is my basic recipe for creating a bisque, flavored with onion, celery, sometimes carrots and then strained out.  The mushrooms can be swapped out for whatever you may have on hand, precooked chicken, shrimp, crab or asparagus are a few I like.  I like using an egg yolk to thicken, however, I have at times pureed the onion and celery instead of discarding and returned the puree into the soup as a thickener.

For the mushrooms:

1 cup portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 tablespoons Marsala wine

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

For the bisque:

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour (I did use white/wheat blend)

1 1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1 medium onion, cut in half

1 celery stalk, cut in thirds

3 cups milk, I used non-fat

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 egg yolk

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

1/3 cup Marsala wine

For the mushrooms:  In a medium skillet, sauté the mushrooms in olive oil.   When the mushrooms have released their liquid and begins to evaporate, allow the mushrooms to brown slightly, salt and pepper to taste.  Remove the skillet from the stove, add in the Marsala wine and simmer gently to reduce.  Set aside.

For the bisque:  In a large saucepan, melt the butter slightly, add in the flour and stir over low heat to a bubbling paste.  Add in the broth, salt, onion and celery.  Cook over low heat about 15 minutes, stirring frequently until creamy.  Strain out the onion and celery and discard.   Add in the milk, mushrooms and garlic powder, cook until well blended, just a few minutes.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolk.  Add a bit of the hot soup to the yolk while continuing to whisk bringing the yolk to temperature before stirring it into the large saucepan of soup.  Add in the Marsala wine and cook only to blend, do not allow it to boil.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.   Serve immediately.  Serves 4-6.


I love being in the kitchen. Early mornings, soft music, a hot espresso. Easing into the preparation of delicious meals. Glancing through cookbooks, gathering inspiration and planning my day. I look forward to the cycles of the seasons, the pleasures of tasting and savoring and sharing this with those dear to me. Weekends are special to me as my week days are often rushed, but still I create the ambiance, light the candles, set the table and uncork the wine.


  • Maureen | Orgasmic Chef

    I moved to Australia from Florida and a couple of years ago moved north in Australia to a climate very much like Orlando (we’re upside down so we go north to get warm). I’m perfectly happy here. 🙂

    However, I’d be even happier with a bowl of this fantastic mushroom bisque!

  • Kristy

    Oh Linda! This is warming me up just reading about it. I love mushrooms and this soup sounds like it would be perfect for this snowy weather we’re having today. I think I’m going to have to make this before it warms up for spring. I hope you had a great trip to Florida. I was just looking at our Florida photos tonight – finally got some framed and my photo book arrived! You’re right – our good times do keep going, but just in different ways. I like that philosophy. Have a wonderful week Linda! 🙂

    • Linda

      Thanks Kristy! I keep a collage of photos from my trips to Sanibel Island with the kids on my hallway wall so I’m always remembered of those special times!! I know this is kinda a rich soup but every now and then, it’s a very welcome and warming treat!

  • Barbara Bamber | justasmidgen

    It seems we both had a lovely break from the cold weather! Palm Springs was quite hot as well.. but anything beats the cold and snow we have here! I’m glad to hear you had a wonderful holiday, isn’t it great to get back home though? Your son must have missed you and devoured this soup:) xx

    • Linda

      I’ll have to catch up with where you’ve been! Palm Springs? how lovely!! It is always good to be home, but I still feel Florida is my home, so it’s bittersweet. Of course, I think my son missed my cooking more than just me!!

  • ChgoJohn

    How nice that you were able to escape for a spell! If there were no major trips planned fror Spring or Fall, I always tried to get away for a week or so to Florida, Puerto Rico, or Mexico. I needed to remind my body what it’s like to feel the sun and a warm breeze.
    Did you go to Miss Cleo’s Psychic School when you were in Florida? The timing of this recipe could not have been better. I just finished writing a future post in which I use mushroom stems, etc, to make stock and have a pint of it in my freezer. I’ll use it in your delicious bisque in place of the chicken stock. See? Perfect timing. Please thank Miss Cleo for me, should you return for post-graduate studies. 🙂

    • Linda

      John, this is so funny you mention Miss Cleo!! She was my neighbor!! Yes, indeed and I have a few good stories about her and her dog!! I didn’t have to go to her school to appreciate her insight!! I hope you do get a nice little getaway to warmer weather as I know it’s much colder where you are! Had I known you took trips to Florida, we could have met up!

  • Hotly Spiced

    I just googled to work out what that temperature actually was – 14C. 14C? And people go there for a break from the winter? That’s unbelievably cold. I’m glad you found it to be a relief from where you are xx

    • Linda

      Well, Florida for Spring Break is normally much warmer and it actually only got that cold for the weekend then the temps went back up to beach weather! Regardless of the temp for me, just being surrounded by blue skies and palm trees was uplighting in itself!!

    • Linda

      It is so true, I would get that feeling when I’d visit my father, there is something special about family cooking – I think it has to do with the extra love put forth!

  • Geni

    What a nice trip to get to go back to Florida and soak up some sun, even if it was colder than usual. I hope you got to catch up with friends. This soup look likes that perfect anecdote for freezing temps. So creamy but not devastatingly caloric. Can’t wait to make this for my mushroom loving husband. It’s been “colder” here too (60) and this soup will be very welcomed. Take care Linda.

  • Chica Andaluza

    It’s warming up here on the English south coast but it’s still perfect weather for a beautiful soup like yours. I adore mushrooms and would certainly love to be cooing this and catching up with a loved one at th same time 🙂

  • Mad Dog

    I used to live in Atlanta, so a trip to Florida was good in the middle of winter, though I have to confess, it’s probably hot enough down there for me on a sunny day in December. Atlanta’s hot enough in summer, further south can only be hotter 😉
    Great soup regardless and as Tanya said, there was a positive heat wave in England today!

  • Bam's Kitchen

    A little time away from the hustle and bustle good for you. I am sure your boy was happy to see mom home and the chef back in the house. This soup looks marvelous and so rich and creamy.

  • Karen (Back Road Journal)

    I know that you enjoyed spending a little time back in Florida. We were just down in Ft. Lauderdale to enjoy some warmth for our anniversary. Now back in the cold and snow, your mushroom bisque sounds very delicious and warming.

  • cecilia

    Oh I have missed you. Loved this recipe and thank you for this as your basic bisque recipe, I will practice it as with winter coming I can see this being the basic method for many soups. Have a lovely day.. c

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