Red Lobster is an American casual dining restaurant chain that is owned and operated by Darden Restaurants, Inc., headquartered in Orlando, Florida. The company also has operations in Canada, the United Arab Emirates, and Japan. As of May 29, 2011, there are 698 Red Lobster locations worldwide.

Red Lobster was founded in 1968 by entrepreneurs Bill Darden and Charley Woodsby. Originally billed as a "Harbor for Seafood Lovers", the first restaurant in Lakeland, Florida, was followed by several others throughout the southeast. In 1970, General Mills acquired Red Lobster as a five-unit company. With new backing, the chain expanded rapidly in the 1980s.




Wild Mushroom Soup

Red Lobster's Wild Mushroom Soup
Copycat Recipe

6 oz portabella mushrooms
6 oz shiitake mushrooms
8 oz button mushrooms
1 cup butter
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tspn chopped garlic
1 cup diced tomatoes
1 cup diced yellow onions
2 tspn chopped fresh thyme
2 small bay leaves
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1/4tspn black pepper
1/2 tspn salt
3 tbsp cooking sherry
2 qts beef stock
1 1/4 cups heavy cream

For beef stock : Place 2 quarts water and 2 tablespoons beef-stock base in a saucepan and simmer until beef-stock base has dissolved. Remove stock from the heat and allow it to cool until it is refrigerator temperature.

Wash all mushrooms in lukewarm water in a deep bowl. Mix the mushrooms well to loosen the dirt. Remove them from the water by hand, leaving the dirt behind. Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms, and then slice all of the mushrooms. Keep the button mushrooms separate from the others.

For soup:  Heat a 6-8 quart saucepan over moderately high heat. Pour in the melted butter. Add button mushrooms and diced yellow onions to hot butter and cook until mushrooms are soft.
Add the remaining mushrooms and garlic and sauté for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the sherry and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the flour. Using a cooking spoon, mix well and cook for 2 minutes or until butter and flour (roux) start cooking away from the sides of the saucepan. Add half of the cold beef stock and stir until liquid thickens. Add the remainder of the stock and spices and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the cream and allow soup to simmer for an additional 10 minutes.

NOTES  This soup needs a smooth texture. Since the flour flavor must be completely cooked out, your cooking time may vary. Make sure stock is cool before adding it to the hot roux, (approximately 40° cool in the refrigerator). If roux and stock are both hot, your soup will be lumpy.

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