Inspired by some very pretty looking mushrooms at my local green grocers, I thought I would make a nice and easy mushroom soup . I love quick & delicious dishes as they really make a big difference to a busy day. And of course no mushroom soup without a few twigs of thyme. They add a rich flavour and provide a small serving of antioxidants, vitamin C and antimicrobial oils. The perfect addition not only to soups but also to fresh salads and salad dressings.
I love bringing the garden into the kitchen and usually have a selection of little pots on my window sill. Potted herbs are brilliant, the only thing to remember is to water them and they will happily supply you with delicious and nutritious flavours all year round.
Crimini mushrooms are the brown variety of the button mushrooms and are cultivated most of the year. A good source of folate, choline, protein, vitamin B2,3,1 and B6, these mushrooms also supply us with of a number of minerals including selenium, copper, phosphorus, zinc, potassium and manganese. All good to keep our body’s stores well stocked and help carry us through the last few weeks until spring finally arrives. I have already started counting down the time until the clocks spring forward.
When selecting the mushrooms, look for plump, firm and clean ones and avoid dry or ugly looking ones. Fresh mushrooms are best to be used on the day you buy them or they can be stored in a loosely closed paper bag in the fridge, where they keep for a couple of days. Prepacked mushrooms keep for around a week.
What I love about this soup is that it takes next to no time to make, only around 10 minutes to prepare the ingredients and 10-12 minutes cooking time. All you need is fresh mushrooms, onions, thyme, vegetable stock, ghee or butter, salt & pepper to taste- done. I like a really deep and rich flavours, so I usually add some dried mushroom as well, some Parmesan shavings finely chopped fresh flat leaf parsley or thyme and served with freshly baked sourdough bread make this a very special starter!
Crimini button mushroom soup– Serves 3-4
400 g crimini mushrooms – sliced
1 medium sized onion or a couple of shallots – sliced
2-4 tbsp of olive oil
25 g of ghee ( or butter)
1-2 springs of fresh thyme
750 ml of vegetable or chicken stock
Fresh flat leaf parsley ( optional -another one for the window sill)
1 tbsp of dried mushrooms -soaked in the vegetable stock
Pepper, sea salt, (Parmesan to garnish – optional)
Peel and finely slice the onion and set a side. Prepare the stock in a jug or separate pan, boiling 750ml of filtered water (quickest way to do it is to use a kettle), add the chicken or vegetable stock cube or homemade stock, stir until dissolved and add table spoon of dried mushrooms to enhance the flavour of the stock. Carefully wash the mushrooms, cut off the dry end of the stem, then finely slice and set a side.
Take another handful to keep aside for the topping (optional). For the soup: heat the olive oil and sweat the shallots for 2-3 minutes, then add thyme and mushrooms and cook for another 3-4 minutes, before adding the stock. Leave to simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
Set pot aside and leave to cool down for 5 minutes, then blend until smooth, towards the end of the blending process add the 1 tbsp of ghee . As for what to use for blending the soup, I usually use a handheld blender as it is very quick to clean, but the most smooth results you will get in using a food processor or blender. Once blended well, season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serving options: just on its own or topped with a tbsp of sauteed mushrooms, freshly chopped flat parsley, some Parmesan shavings, finely chopped roasted chestnuts when in season, serve with freshly baked sourdough or multi-seed bread.
Bon Appétit !!