In winter, we keep a pretty good stock of soup in the freezer. It's just so nice to be able to warm up on a crisp day with a bowl of your favourite... which is why at any given time we usually have at least three varieties in the freezer to choose from, and why we keep them in individual portions. They make for a far more enjoyable, much more filling, and just as easy lunch to take to work than cuppa soups!
Last week I opened the freezer to find that our stocks were running low and I went to replenish them... but I was plagued by indecision! I couldn't decide between Wild Mushroom, Thai Sweet Potato or Cullen Skink. So I put it to a vote; I asked the lovely people who follow me on Twitter or my Facebook page to decide for me. The people voted, and Mr E and I soon had a freezer full of Wild Mushroom soup! I'm pretty sure the others will follow soon though...
600g fresh wild mushrooms (any combination), sliced
25g dried porcini
1 litre chicken stock
1 tspn garlic, minced (about 2 cloves)
1 large onion, finely chopped
Handful of fresh thyme, leaves only
2 tblspns mascarpone
Salt and pepper, to season
Chives, to garnish
1) In a small bowl, cover the porcini with boiling water and leave to soak according to the packet instructions (usually about 20 minutes).
2) In a very large saucepan, heat 2 tblspns olive oil until very hot. Add the fresh mushrooms and toss for one minute.
3) Add in the garlic, onion, butter, thyme, salt and pepper and stir for another minute. When you start to see some of the moisture creeping out of the mushrooms, and they have softened a little, strain the porcini mushrooms (keeping the liquid aside) and add them to the pan, stirring for another minute. If you would like some mushrooms to sprinkle on the soup as a garnish, remove one or two at this point.
4) Now add the liquid from your porcinis to the pan, bring to a very gentle simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
5) Next, add your stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer for 20 minutes.
6) Using an immersion blender, or transferring to a food processor, blend the soup to your desired consistency- we like it almost completely smooth with only a few flecks.
7) Add in the mascarpone, check the seasoning, and stir until completely combined.
Serve with a small dollop of mascarpone and some chives sprinkled on top (and a few of the pan fried mushrooms, if you kept any aside!).