4 leeks (white and light green parts only), well washed and thinly sliced
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 (5 (5") Portobello mushroom caps, stemmed and chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sherry (optional)
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 c. half-and-half
4 ounces mascarpone
4 ounces garlic and herb goat cheese
Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook until browned, 5–8 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate. To the saucepan, add 1/2 tablespoon butter, 1 cup of the leeks, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook 4 minutes, then remove to the plate; set aside.
Add the remaining 1-1/2 tablespoons butter, leeks, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste to the pan; cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook 3 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes. If desired, stir in 2 tablespoons sherry, scraping up any browned bits with a wooden spoon and cooking until the sherry evaporates. Add the broth and 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, uncovered, until the mushrooms are tender, 8–10 minutes.
Puree the soup in batches in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot, whisk in the half and half, mascarpone and goat cheese, and bring just to below a boil. Stir in three-quarters of the pancetta-leek mixture, then portion the soup into bowls, topping it with a bit of the remaining pancetta-leek mixture.
This dish can be made ahead of time and reheated when needed. It can also be frozen for up to a month in a sealed airtight container.
There are few things as comforting as creamy mushroom soup. Sweet mascarpone heightens the richness and gives this soup a luxurious texture, and pancetta crisps lend a subtle and inviting saltiness to each bite.
Change up the dish by adding grilled chicken. Instead of pancetta, you can also use ham or bacon.