As a child I hated mushrooms with the passion of ten thousand suns. Seriously, they were a slimy, funny textured, weird little goblin like things that I would force down, with a mix of horror and defiance. My younger self would be appalled by what I am about to reveal to you now.
Today I’m sharing my go-to mushroom soup recipe, because now I love mushrooms, with the passion of, ten thousand suns.
Mushrooms might even be good for you. Recent reports (popular science programmes and the-like) have suggested that they are a good source of vitamin D. The UK’s biggest supermarket is now even promoting a pack of enhanced mushrooms. However, there are voices that disagree with the, ahem, “D”eification of the humble mushroom in this way.
Who know, all I know it that things change and I now can’t get enough of them, if they do help me with my Vitamin D intake, even better. I think that mushroom love is one of those things that happen with time. There are foods that (unless we’ve ate them from our very early years) we can only really develop the palate for as adults. Olives are another one for me. I now love mushrooms so much that mushroom soup is the loving bowlful that I crave when I get home from teaching a late evening Pilates class.
I find that I don’t want to go to bed on a full stomach (if class finishes at 9, I’m not eating before 10) yet I do want to eat, so that hunger pains don’t come knocking and wake me up in the middle of the night.
I make my own because a) most supermarket versions are not good enough b) most supermarkets don’t seem to stock mushroom soup recently. Is there a mushroom shortage (right now in early spring 2017 I thought that was just courgettes) or are mushrooms just not fashionable? Whatever it is, I make my own these days. I make a big batch, decant, portion and freeze. It’s sooo easy to make this stuff. I can’t work out why I ever tried to buy it from a shop.
You can start with your own stock (also made with a mushroom base, keep the stalks, freeze them if you like) or, for really quick soup-making, I use a low sodium vegetable bouillion. I like a particular brand that does not contain palm oil, no need for that extra bit of saturated fat thank you.
When it comes to the main ingredient, you can use whatever varieties your mushroomy heart desires. I like to mix things up, but sometimes it just depends on what I can get my hands on in the supermarket/farmers market. Think different textures (eek, my 7 year-old self would be weeping reading that) and different tastes. Dried porcini is a must (umami anyone?) then something wild and maybe something dense and hefty? This isn’t a “cream of” type soup, this has “bits” and gives you the option to keep enough “bite” in your soup to give your teeth something to do as you savour the flavour.
What you need:
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, chop roughly
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 sprigs of thyme (although, rosemary also works in this soup).
500g mixed mushrooms chopped
1.2 litres stock (vegetable or mushroom)
2 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms.
What to do:
1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, cook the onion, celery and herbs for 5 minutes or until they are soft. Add the mushroom mix (keep the porcini aside for now) cook for another 2 minutes.
2. Stir in the stock and porcini mushrooms. Put the lid on and let the soup simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Take the soup off the heat. If you’ve used thyme stalks, remove them now. Halve the soup and place one half into a blender. Blend to a consistency you like. At this point you can decide how much more of the half you set aside you’d like to blend. I tend to leave a third of the soup unblended to give me just enough “bity-ness” consistency. Return the entire soup to the hob and heat through. You are ready to serve, maybe with hunk of crusty bread?
I serve this with a big twist of black pepper and, if I am feeling decadent, a dollop of crème fraiche (half fat version, probably but, still protein rich) but that is really optional.
There you go, it’s not complicated but it is a totally tasty soup, which, admittedly would have made me run a mile a few decades ago.
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Enjoy your soup