Monday, September 20, 2010

Mushroom Soup

I love shitake mushrooms, I have grown up eating them and for a while I found all other mushrooms inferior. I was not a fan of other mushrooms and I realize why - my first experiences of eating other mushrooms (like the common button mushroom) were raw in a salad or sandwich….but things changed when I had some grilled mushrooms, sauté them with some butter and thyme and now we’re talking, mushroom risotto is a killer….mushroom soup? It’s a winner!

Mushrooms have a rich flavour and it’s one of those vegetables that you need to know how to cook properly in order to intensify its flavour and do it justice. 

I love all mushrooms now but shittakes are still my number one. 

Mushroom soup requires few ingredients and is really easy to make --> you pretty much just sauté mushrooms, add stock, simmer, blend and add cream.

The thing I love about cooking is taking a stock standard recipe and tweaking it. To give my mushroom soup more depth in its flavour I used a varity of different mushrooms, included a bit of nutmeg and squeeze of lemon. Mushrooms are considered meat for vegetarians as it is packed with umami with a high content of free amino acids, including glutamic acid and therefore has a very savoury or meaty ‘mouth filling’ taste. I also added pancetta to the soup to amp up the meat factor (you could also use bacon, bacon bones or a ham hock), the idea for adding in pancetta came from a lentil soup recipe from Giorgio Locatelli’s Made in Italy: Food and Stories.

~ 2 tablespoons olive oil
100g butter
3 shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons, fresh chopped thyme
2 bay leaves
100g pancetta
20g dried porcini, reconstituted
250g field mushrooms, thinly sliced
350g swiss brown mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 cups chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste
grating of nutmeg (~ ¼ teaspoon)
juice of half a lemon
1 cup/250ml thickened cream
chopped parsley for garnish

(I buy all my veges from the Mount Lawley Fruit and Veg shop. I found a mushroom with two stems)

Heat olive oil and butter in a large pot over med-high heat until the butter is foaming. Add shallots, cook for 2-3 minutes, then add in the pancetta and cook for another 5-7 minutes until the shallots are caramelized. Then add in the garlic, thyme and bay leaves, and cook for 2-3 minutes until aromatic.

Add in all of the mushrooms, increase the heat to high for a few minutes to get the mushrooms cooking and then turn down to medium heat, cook the mushrooms, stirring continuously to make sure that the mushrooms cook evenly until the they are golden brown and tender, around 10 minutes (the mushrooms will reduce down to a fraction of their original size).
Add in the chicken stock and bring to boil, then simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
Season with some salt and pepper, squeeze in the juice of half a lemon and grate in a little nutmeg. and taste.

Turn off the heat and remove the pancetta and bay leaves. Puree the soup with hand held blender.

Turn the heat back on, stir in the cream and simmer for 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.
Serve topped with some cream and parsley.


  1. yumm... crispin sometimes cooks a very similar looking soup from one of our vegetarian cookbooks. ahhh mushroom goodness....

  2. I hope you ate the pancetta after you removed it!

    Mushrooms rock. This looks like a super tasty soup.