This speedy version of frico (cheese crisps from northern Italy) uses the microwave. In just a few minutes, you can transform a pile of cheese into a crunchy garnish for our creamy soup. Easy, cheesy!
In a large pot, bring the stock and porcini mushrooms to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover; simmer until tender, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat; add the leek. Cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cremini mushrooms; cook, stirring often, until browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic; stir for 2 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the porcini to the pan. Slowly pour in the mushroom stock, leaving any grit behind in the pot. Add the thyme. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the flavors meld, about 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender or working in batches in a blender, puree the soup, 1 to 2 minutes; return to the pan. Stir in the half-and-half.
Meanwhile, on a sheet of parchment paper small enough to fit in your microwave, arrange four 1-tbsp. mounds of cheese, spacing evenly apart. Pat into 3-inch rounds. Microwave in 15-second intervals until melted and browned in spots. Repeat with the remaining cheese. Let cool. Peel off the parchment.
Serve the soup in small bowls, topped with the frico and chives.
This recipe is part of our 2-hour holiday dinner menu. Get the rest of the recipes here.