(serves 8 )
Had that bowl of mushroom soup at some fancy reastaurant that looks or tastes nothing like canned mushroom soup? This is that soup. Using a generous amount of mushrooms blended in chicken stock brings your mushroom soup to a whole new level, but this recipe goes a bit further. It also uses a little white sauce as a base, to give the soup a nice solid creamy structure.
I just love the intense aroma and taste of truffles. You don’t have to use truffle oil if you don’t want to, but really…if there is one thing that goes perfectly with truffle essence, it’s mushroom soup. Truffle oil is not cheap, but a small bottle of it goes a long way. You won’t regret your investment.
- Chopped Mushooms (6 cups)
- Red Onion (1)
- Flour (3T)
- Milk (1.5 cups)
- Butter (80g)
- Coriander Seed Powder
- Truffle Oil (optional)
- Start by cutting your mushrooms (btw, 6 cups is roughly 500g) into small bits (slices if you plan using them decoratively). What kind of mushrooms should you use? The key to a good mushroom soup does not lie too much in the kind of mushrooms you use, although I do advocate a mix of at least one dark and one white variety to impart a nice grainy colour to your final product. At the same time, julienne a red onion into small bits.
- In a soup pot, fry the onion in 2T of butter for about 8 minutes. While the onion is softening, break up a chicken stock cube in 3 cups of hot water and add it to the pot together with 1t sugar, 1t coriander seed powder and 1t tarragon.
- Boil the chopped mushrooms in the stock for 10 minutes and then lightly blend the mixture. I normally just use a hand held blender on the pot’s contents directly, but you could do the whole batch in a food processor if you like. Your objective is to end up with a grainy mushroom texture, not a puree, so go easy on the blending.
- In a sauce pan, melt 4T of butter and then fry 3T of flour in it until the flour begins to darken slightly. Stirring the entire time, add 1.5 cups of milk. To avoid lumping, you should pour in only ¼ cup of milk at a time and hold off on adding the next batch of milk until the roux or sauce has absorbed all the liquid. You should have a nice thick sauce when you are done.
- Next, turn up the heat and stir in some of the blended mushroom mixture, again slowly. When the contents of the saucepan has become more fluid, pour it back into the soup pot and reheat.
- Finally season your soup with 1T cognac, and black pepper and salt to taste. If you are planning to use truffle oil, drizzle 1t of it on the individual soup dishes themselves just before serving.
- The use of a white sauce base lets the soup absorb a small amount of oil like the truffle oil, but if you intend to add mascarpone, cream etc. as a finish, the soup’s surface will be covered with little spots of oil. I recommend against doing this.
- For a nice visual effect you can try a number of things. Put aside some cooked mushroom slices before blending, and/or also some of the blended mushroom. You can add these back as decorative constructs after spooning the soup onto the dish (refer to the picture).
- Since we are making a soup, shouldn’t we be using real chicken for the stock? By all means. Ironically, I often use a vegetable stock cube to flavour my ‘real’ chicken stock.
- High heat in oil is the only way of avoiding a floury taste, so never add flour directly to your soups.
- You can’t add more than a drizzle of truffle oil. If you want a full blown truffle taste without using fresh truffle shavings, you can add as much truffle pate as you like, which is made from mushrooms anyway.