Thursday, February 2, 2012

Mushroom mushroom soup :)

This soup is so mushroomy, I had to put it in the title twice! :D

so tasty, and SO ridiculously simple and quick!
I'm always on the look out for recipes that I don't need to plan ahead for.  I love cooking things that take lots of time, but I also work a 9-5 job, and sometimes, I just don't have the time or inclination to plan ahead.  This means that I either end up eating at 930pm sometimes, or I need to find things that don't take long to cook. 

Enter - the humble mushroom!  Mushrooms cook in a jiffy, are available ALWAYS (but especially in the colder months, when they thrive, even outdoors!) and can be made into so many different things.  I love a soup that's fast to make too, because all my favourite ones apart from this one actually take a while. 

Additionally, I've just started a Weight watcher's diet, so am trying to adapt recipes to fit into my daily allowance.  Essentially, I'm still eating low carb (although I'm allowed to have carbs on this diet), but now with additional low fat! 

This soup can be adapted to be as creamy and decadent, or as low fat as you like.  Really though, the low fat version doesn't taste all that different!  I'll give you the recipe for the low fat one, and will comment in the actual method of how to make it just a little extra decadent and rich, ideal for a soup starter for a wintry dinner party. 

You will need a blender (either immersion or stand alone) for this soup.  I've never tried it without blending it, but I'm sure it'll taste great too! Just slice the mushrooms a little neater if you are planning not to blend it :) 

  • Low cal oil spray
  • 1 medium onion
  • Couple of cloves of garlic (I actually forgot to add these this time!)
  • 750-1kg of mushrooms.  I used Portobello (which are the exact same as normal white ones but because they are grown outside rather than in dark warehouses, are brown in colour, with a slightly more umami taste.  Try and choose the larger open ones no matter what, as they are stronger in flavour.  As long as they're fresh, there's no need for them to be similar in size or colour.  You can really use ANY mushrooms for this soup, but try getting the larger, cheaper ones. :) 
  • 500 mls or so of fresh chicken stock, hot (or 2 organic free range chicken stock cubes and 500 mls hot water)
  • salt, pepper, mixed herbs like herbes de Provence or Italian herb mix.
  • 300mls skimmed milk (maybe more)
Dice the onions roughly, and throw it in a medium sized saucepan that's been sprayed lightly with some spray (or you can use a mix of butter and olive oil for extra deliciousness ;)).

Sauté onions gently until soft and translucent. 

In the meantime, chop the mushrooms roughly.  And by roughly, I mean slice the end of the stalk off and discard (it's normally a little dried out and icky which is why I do this) and just hack at the mushrooms until they are relatively sliced/chopped. Do not even consider chopping them finely, as they will not blend well!

Bung em in the pan and keep stirring a bit until the mushrooms start to soften slightly and start releasing water.  At this point add a good (and i mean good!) pinch of salt, heaps of pepper whatever herbs you have lying around (and even a grating of nutmeg!) and turn up the heat and stir for a minute or 2. 

Add the stock until the mushrooms are covered, adding more water/stock if necessary.  Bring to a boil then lower the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes or so or until the mushrooms are completely cooked through and have released their juices.  The soup will be a darkish brown (a little lighter if using regular white mushrooms I guess). 

Turn off the heat, allow to cool slightly and blend it until smooth. 

Add enough skimmed milk to make it your preferred soup consistency.  Some people like it thicker and more mushroomy in flavour, some people like it to be very light and creamy. It's up to you.  (if you want to go all out, replace skimmed milk with single cream and another massive knob of butter).

Stir this into the blended soup, and reheat until the right temperature (and if using, the butter has completely melted).  Do not allow to boil, just heat it up at this point.

Make sure you taste before serving, as it will probably need more seasoning.  I love it with a sprinkling of Herbamare, aka Hippy MSG (thanks for that Zostar!). 

Serve as a starter, or with a side salad and crunchy buttered bread as a light dinner :) 

Enjoy!! :D

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