DH doesn’t like soup, so I rarely make it. But his parents were visiting us and they do like soup, so I had an excuse to make some. I picked a flavour that I thought DH wouldn’t object to too much, and hoped the for best. In the event, he ate a whole bowlful of this creamy mushroom soup, and even said, “I didn’t hate it.” Praise indeed.
Kipper on the other hand refused to even try it, which is a mystery because she loves mushrooms. I think she was saving herself for the jelly, which came later.
[Note to self: maintain secrecy about the identity of dessert.]
The dried mushrooms give a deep, woodland mushroom flavour, which seems to intensify if you make the mushroom soup in advance and allow it to stand for a few hours before you eat it. The ones we have are a mixture of porcini, oyster mushrooms, and shiitake but I think any dried mushrooms would probably have a similar effect.
I also used a mixture of fresh mushrooms – about half and half white mushrooms and chestnut mushrooms. Again, I’m not sure how critical this is to the quality of the finished mushroom soup.
Cream of mushroom soup
You will need:
20g dried mushrooms (see note above)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 small onions or shallots
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp dry sherry
6 black peppercorns
1 bay leaf
170ml double cream
chopped tarragon leaves, to serve
What to do:
Put the dried mushrooms in a measuring jug and pour over boiling water to the 250ml line. Leave to soak for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients: Peel and finely chop the onions, peel and crush the garlic, and slice the mushrooms.
Heat the olive oil in a saucepan, and add the onions, garlic and mushrooms. Cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes until softened. The mushrooms will probably have released some liquid.
Drain the soaked mushrooms and reserve the soaking liquid. Chop the mushrooms and add to the pan. Cook 1-2 minutes.
Add the sherry, and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid – pour it through a tea strainer to catch any bits of grit. Boil the liquid for a minute or two to reduce.
Add the stock, peppercorns and bay leaf, and reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until the mushrooms are very soft.
Remove from the heat and retrieve the bay leaf. Liquidise with a stick blender until smooth, then add the cream. Adjust the seasoning then blend again until very smooth and creamy.
If possible, allow to stand for several hours. Reheat gently before serving, sprinkled with chopped tarragon leaves.