© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

 

© 2009-2011 Quality Eating and Drinking London Ltd

Mushroom soup

A good soup which tells of its season does satisfy, and as the days shorten, we need the deeper and darker harmonics of something like this soup, made with flat field mushrooms singing the song of the earth. More often than not, mushroom soup is served in a full-cream version: this soup just has a little cream to make it taste a bit silkier, but it doesn't lose its darkness and mystery.

This quantity will feed four people as a first course, or two as the main event: scaling is simple. Any stock (except, probably, fish) will do, but duck or goose stock really makes this soup stand out from the crowd. And on the subject of variation, goat butter is an excellent option here if you like a slightly sharp edge: the relatively low-temperature cooking means that it imparts its characteristic tang into the mix.

150g onion, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
250g field mushrooms, wiped
15g butter (unsalted or slightly salted)
vegetable oil as necessary (olive, rapeseed,
   groundnut, etc., according to preference)
400ml stock
salt and pepper as required
1 tsp fresh tarragon, chopped
100ml crème fraîche
75ml sherry (not too sweet,
   but according to preference/availability)

  • Chop the onions and garlic finely: a food processor is ideal for this.
  • Chop the mushrooms finely (separately from the onions and garlic): again, the food processor comes into its own.
  • Melt the butter in a soup-pot and soften the onion and garlic gently in it, without letting it burn and go bitter.
  • Add the mushrooms, stirring them in. Add oil if the mix becomes too dry, but don't overdo it.
  • When the mix is dark and limp, add the stock and simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Check and balance the flavour to taste by adding salt and/or pepper, and add the tarragon for a further five minutes.
  • Stir in the crème fraîche, incorporating it completely into the liquor, and then add the sherry. If you like a zingy tang to your soup, go for a dry sherry: a medium-sweet one will give more of a 'glow'.
  • Leave to heat for another minute or so, check the seasoning once more, and serve.