Mushroom Soup I

This easy-to-make Mushroom Soup, fla-voured with oregano and cayenne pepper, tastes delicious served with croutons, or hot, crusty rolls and butter. Although it is preferable to use home-made chicken stock, you can use stock made from a chicken stock cube if you wish.

1 oz. butter

1 small onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons flour

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper li pints home-made chicken stock

1 lb. mushrooms, stalks removed, wiped clean and sliced

1 bay leaf

5 fl. oz. double cream cream may be substituted to make a richer soup.

6-8 SERVINGS

4 streaky bacon slices, rinds removed and finely diced

1 tablespoon butter

1 large onion, finely chopped

4 medium-sized potatoes, diced

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon paprika

2 tablespoons flour

2 pints home-made chicken stock

10 fl. oz. milk

1 large bay leaf

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh chervil or

1 tablespoon dried chervil

12 oz. mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced

5 fl. oz. sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

In a large saucepan, fry the bacon, stirring occasionally, over moderately high heat for 5 minutes or until it is crisp and has rendered most of its fat.

With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the pan and set it aside on kitchen paper towels. Keep hot.

Reduce the heat to moderate and add the butter to the pan. When the butter has melted and the foam subsides, add the onion. Fry, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until it is soft and trans-lucent but not brown.

Add the diced potatoes and fry, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until they are golden brown.

Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle over the salt, pepper, paprika and flour. Stir to coat the vegetables evenly with the flour mixture.

Gradually pour in the chicken stock, stirring constantly. Stir in the milk, bay leaf, chervil and mushrooms.

Return the pan to the heat and bring the soup to the boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the soup through a fine wire strainer held over a large mixing bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, rub the vegetables through the strainer until only a dry pulp is left. Discard the pulp in the strainer.

Alternatively, remove the bay leaf and blend the soup in an electric blender.

Pour the soup back into the saucepan and stir in the sour cream. Place the pan over low heat and cook the soup, stirring constantly, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until it is hot.

Remove the pan from the heat. Pour the soup into a warmed soup tureen or individual soup bowls. Sprinkle over the chives and diced bacon and serve.

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