I know this is very retro – I loved mushroom soup in the ‘90s and now too. It is a lovely soup for a cold night or served with crusty bread, makes a great starter for your dinner party.
The flavour for this soup is enhanced by mushroom powder. I make mushroom powder by blitzing dried shitake mushrooms in a small spice blender. The mushroom powder is not limited to this soup – I use it to inject flavour into pies and pasta sauces.
100g onion, finely chopped
3 garlic, finely chopped
800g white button mushrooms, any black bits brushed off
1 heaped tablespoon mushroom powder
750ml good quality vegetable stock
400ml hot water
250ml dry white wine
2 tablespoons plain flour
½ teaspoon white pepper powder
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Italian parsley finely chopped for garnish
Cut 700 grams of the mushroom into a smallish dice. Slice thinly the remaining 100 grams of mushrooms and set aside.
In a medium sized saucepan, heat the butter until nice and brown. Fry the onions and garlic for 3-4 minutes. Add the diced mushrooms, half a teaspoon salt and white pepper. Turn the heat on to a high and sweat mushrooms for a couple of minutes.
Turn the heat back to medium and add the plain flour along with the mushroom powder. Keep frying to prevent burning and sticking to the bottom. When the flour and powder are fully incorporated, turn the heat again to high and pour in the wine. Let the wine bubble rapidly for 30 seconds or so. Pour the hot water and stock. Cover and let it come up to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes stirring once in a while.
While the soup is cooking, prepare the garnish by heating the olive oil in a small frying pan. Fry the sliced mushrooms. Add salt and sugar and make sure the edges caramelize well. This should take about 7-8 minutes. Stir in the balsamic vinegar, remove from heat and set aside.
At the end of cooking time, blitz the soup with a stick blender until creamy and luscious. Stir in the cream and heat gently so it barely comes to the boil. Season with salt and pepper after checking for seasoning (sometimes store bought stocks are salted).
To serve, spoon into preheated bowls. Arrange 6-8 fried mushroom slices on top and sprinkle with Italian parsley just before serving. Serves 4.