Slice half of the mushrooms and set aside. Chop the other half. In a large stockpot or soup pot, saute chopped mushrooms in 1 tablespoon butter or margarine . When mushrooms release their liquid, add all the vegetables except for reserved, sliced mushrooms.
To marry the flavors, cook, stirring, for 6-7 minutes. Stir in all other ingredients except the reserved mushrooms, the remaining butter or margarine, and the sherry.
Bring to a boil. When boiling, immediately lower heat to reach a strong simmer. Cook, covered, for 1 hour.
Let cool slightly to be workable, and puree in a blender or food processor fitted with steel blade. Return to pot.
Saute reserved mushrooms in the remaining 1 tablespoon butter or margarine. Add to pot with the sherry, and cook just to heat.
Contributor: Pat Ciesla