Mushroom Soup

The city where I work is home to a large indoor market which holds at least five excellent green grocers.  I was on a mission for work (dark brown sugar for Mojito making) and I walked past boxes and boxes of flat field mushrooms.  For one pound.  One pound. Each box must have contained a minimum of 25 huge mushrooms.  So of course I left with one.

I had a 30g bag of dried porcini mushrooms at the back of the cupboard bought on a whim because I never know when the urge for mushroom risotto or soup will hit.

I’m a bit of a snob, I wouldn’t want to put more than one field mushroom into a risotto.  To me that’s a showcase for fancy mushrooms with a chestnut mushroom base.  What? It’s the way I like it.

The soup was also an excellent opportunity to use up the leftover potatoes from a few days previously.  I hate waste.  It ended up making seven bowls of soup.  Three ladle fulls to each bowl.  So lets say six people to play safe.

30g dried porcini mushrooms
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
25 large flat field mushrooms – I didn’t weigh them, sorry.  But they very nearly filled a plastic carrier bag.
2 chopped onions
1 rib of celery, chopped
1 mushroom stock cube (yes, Kallo)
1 chicken stock cube – go for vegetable if you like
250g of smothered potatoes, or raw potatoes chopped into about 1 inch cubes      if you don’t have any pre-cooked.  This weight is a guess.
Black pepper

Put the dried mushrooms into a bowl and cover with hot water. Leave them alone. Don’t worry about chopping them, they’ll be blended later.
Then, as usual, butter and oil into a large pan on a medium heat. Pop in the onions and the celery. Turn them to low and put the lid on. They’ll sit happily while you chop all the mushrooms. Just roughly, you want them to cook evenly but they’re going to get whizzed up in the blender.
In with the mushrooms and turn up the heat. You want to pull the water out of them and boil it away to concentrate their flavour.
When you’ve boiled away at least half of the liquid that’s appeared add the two stock cubes and at least 1 litre of water. Mix to incorporate the cubes properly.
Add the dried mushrooms with their soaking liquor.
Add the potatoes. If they’re raw, boil until they’re cooked. If they aren’t then they just need to be warmed up.
Add pepper, and salt to taste. Try to keep in mind that the soup will taste different when it’s been through the blitz.
You’ll have to do the next bit in batches, unless you’re using an immersion blender. You lucky person, you.
Half filling your blender, blitz up the soup in stages. Put the blitzed soup into another pan while you transfer the remaining lumpy soup, because we all love having more dishes to wash.
When all the soup is silky put it back onto a low heat to stay hot. At this point if it’s too thick adjust it by adding more hot water – it’s a bit odd having soup you can stand a spoon in.
Tweak the seasoning if you need to. I love a fair amount of black pepper with my ‘shrooms.

This would have been excellent with truffle oil drizzled over the top, which I have and have only just remembered about – bit miffed now.  It would also be lovely with a swirl of sour cream, even with the truffle oil.

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