Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cream of Mushroom Soup


Olive oil
1/2 cup finely sliced leek (milder than onion)
1 lb (500 g) mushrooms, sliced or quartered

1/2 cup dried assorted mushrooms, rehydrated for 1/2 with hot water (Optional but Oh So Good!) *
1 litre (4-cups) vegetable stock or pareve chicken stock or pareve stock cubes dissolved in 1 litre water
1 thinly sliced carrot (or cut into tiny cubes) - optional but it is very pretty!
1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
Cayenne pepper
Freshly cracked pepper and salt, to taste

1/3 cup olive oil or butter or margarine plus 1/3 cup flour  (to make a roux)
1 litre milk (4 cups) (or non-flavoured milk substitute)

*When using re-hydrated dried mushrooms, it is essential that you rinse them a few times after soaking as they may have a bit of grit left in them.  Dicard the soaking water.

In a large pot, add about 4 Tbsp Olive oil (half can be butter or margarine) and place over medium heat.  Sautee the sliced leeks until transluscent - about 5 minutes.  Add fresh mushrooms and sautee until they are just tender - about 2-3 minutes.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add stock to the pan and bring to a simmer.  Add the well-rehydrated and rinsed dried mushrooms, if desired. Add the thinly sliced carrot.  Add thyme, nutmeg, bay leaf, cayenne and cracked pepper.  If you used broth cubes for the stock, be careful when adding salt.  Add mushroom and leek mixture and allow this all to simmer, partially covered, over medium to medium-low heat.  The liquid will probably reduce by half.  That's a good thing :)In a medium, heavy bottomed pan, pour in 1/3 cup oil, butter or margarine (or a mix of these) into a pan and allow to melt over medium heat.  Add the same amount of flour to the pan and stir(I use a fork)  until smooth and bubbly.  Slowly pour in milk, or milk substitute, stirring continually as the milk is added and soon it will thicken.  Allow to boil, on medium heat, for one minute.  This standard sauce takes about 6 minutes of attention.  You will end up with a perfect Béchamel that will help thicken the soup.

*Note - this is the first sauce I was ever taught to make on my own as a young child.  It is easy and so versatile as nearly anything can be added to make different dishes.  I would suggest keeping this recipe.  If I remember correctly, I memorised it from the 1954 Edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook!

Slowly stir this Béchamel into the broth and vegetable mixture.  Allow to simmer and combine, stirring gently, for about five minutes.  During this time, adjust seasoning.

Pour into warmed soup bowls and garnish the tops with a bit of paprika and fresh parsley or whatever you have on hand that is pretty.  As you can see in the steamy photo, I only had some assorted greens on hand.  No matter.  A glass of wine later and I didn't even care!

K (D) unless you use a milk substitute

Serve with a nice salad and good quality bread

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