Mushroom Bisque (or soup!)

imageHere’s a great winter warmer recipe for a soup with some serious attitude! You could serve it as a starter or cut down the portion size and it works well as a vegetarian pre-stater (and for meat eaters!) served in a ramekin and eaten with a teaspoon.

If you can’t get fresh morel mushrooms, then the dried variety work just as well and even intensify the flavour. Anyone who knows their mushrooms, will agree that morels, onions and garlic are best of friends (Apologies for sounding like Jamie Oliver then!), and if you sauté with some good quality butter, the tastes are sublime.

This recipe incorporates all of those ingredients to create a magnificently creamy soup, rich with morel flavour, but not too overpowering. This is a decadent dish and makes the best mushroom soup ever! Try it with crusty bread to mop up all those rich flavours.

If you are using dried morels, then use half of the recipe weight and soak them in warm water for 40 minutes and drain before using. If you strain the soaking liquid with a tea strainer to ensure there is no grit in the soaking liquid, you can add to the soup to intensify the flavour.

This will make enough soup to feed four as a starter or twelve as a canapé served in ramekins.

Ingredients

120g good quality salted butter
4 cloves of minced garlic
1 large onion, diced
250g fresh morel mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pint of good chicken stock (please don’t use stock cubes unless you have no choice!)
Water as required (for letting down the soup if necessary)
2 tablespoons of plain flour
1/2 pint of double cream
1 level teaspoon of dried thyme
1 level teaspoon of sea salt (good quality such as Maldon)
A good grinding of fresh black pepper (around half a teaspoon)

Method

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. When melted, add the garlic, onion, and morels and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions have softened and turned translucent. this will take about 5-10 minutes. Add the salt and thyme, sprinkle in the flour and fry for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and turn up the heat to high and bring to a simmer stirring all the time.

Adjust heat until you get a gentle simmer and cover the pan and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the cream, stir in well and re-cover and remove from heat. Leave to cool slightly ready for blending (about 15 minutes)

Blend only half of the soup in small batches, filling the blender no more than halfway full each time. Return soup purée to the saucepan. Cook on low for a further 10 minutes. Check for salt seasoning adding if required. Add the ground black pepper immediately before serving.

Happy Eating!

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