Soup Alert: It's time to enjoy some mushrooms

Jan 22, 2016

As part of my attempt to eat in-season meals at work I have been trying to use in-season vegetables to make creamy soups. During fall, I made butternut squash soup and beet soup. Now that winter is all around us, I need to pick different in-season vegetables to make into delicious soups. This past weekend I picked mushrooms as the main ingredient to make a creamy soup.

This is a great recipe because you can add any type of mushrooms, thyme and water or stock (just make sure the liquid of your choice covers the mushrooms in the pot) and you have a delicious lunch.

Mushroom Soup

Makes 5 servings, takes about 1 hour

500 to 700 grams of White or Button Mushrooms

3 or 4 Portobello Mushrooms

4 Onions

4 Stalks of Thyme

4 tablespoons Oil

30 grams Butter

Water or Stock to cover the Mushrooms, if you are using water as the liquid it’s a good idea to add one carrot and a few celery sticks to the onions

Salt and pepper

For this recipe, I like to caramelize the onions a fair bit since the caramelization adds a sweet element to this soup. If you prefer your soup to feature only the earthy taste of mushrooms and thyme then don’t caramelize the onions. To caramelize the onions perfectly make sure that you cut your onions into equal slices - there is nothing worse than certain pieces burning while bigger onion pieces remaining undercooked. Begin by removing the outside layer of the onions, and chop the onions in equal pieces. I usually slice the onions perpendicular to the roots. When I slice the onions parallel to the roots, I find that there are a lot more pieces of different sizes which cook at different times.

Add the oil to a large pot and turn the heat to high. Place the onions in the pot and stir until all of the onions have been coated with the oil. At this time, you should hear the onions begin to sizzle. Turn the heat down to medium - low. While the onions are caramelizing, begin to remove the dirt from the mushrooms and slice the mushrooms. The size of the slices does not matter that much. Simply, roughly chop the mushrooms into smaller pieces - it makes it much easier to stir and they cook quicker.

As the mushrooms are being sliced, make sure to keep an eye on the onions. When two or three mushrooms have been chopped, make sure to give the onions a quick stir, this ensures even caramelization. Once the onions have reached a slightly golden colour, have reduced in size, and are sweetly fragrant they have caramelized; add the butter, and wait for the butter to melt. At this point, you will notice that there is a significant amount of butter and oil at the bottom of the pot, do not be alarmed. There are a lot of mushrooms that need to be slightly coated with the oil and butter mixture.

Add the chopped mushrooms to the pot and stir until the onion, butter and oil have coated the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, and throw in the thyme springs in the pot and stir once again. If you begin to see the mushrooms beginning to cook slightly, then it’s time to add the water or stock. There is no exact measurement of liquid that I add to this soup, I simply add enough liquid to cover the mushrooms. This usually produces a thicker mushroom soup, but I prefer soups this way.

Once the water has been added, turn the heat to medium high. Allow the soup to boil for 15 minutes. After 5 minutes of boiling, taste the soup to ensure that it’s salty and peppery to your liking. Once the soup has boiled, remove the thyme from the soup. You will notice that the leaves in the soup have separated from the woody stalk. Remove from stove and use a hand blender to ensure that your soup becomes creamy.

In winter, my work lunches mostly consist of soups. I usually make them on the weekend and add them to 500 ml sealed jars while hot. For this mushroom soup I usually top it off with some cheese. Throughout the week I just bring a jar and heat it up at work, instantly have a delicious lunch!

– Andreea Nicoara

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