Friday, June 25, 2010

French-Inspired Mushroom Soup

I invented this recipe a year or so ago after I watched an episode of Masterchef. They mentioned on the show that the classic flavours of French food were butter, cream, thyme and I think lemon - so when I went to make mushroom soup for dinner that night, knowing we had some beautiful lemon thyme growing in the garden, I decided to see if I could make a soup that reflected these flavours.

The Recipe
About 50g butter
1 smallish white or brown onion
1 heaped teaspoon crushed garlic
400-600g mushrooms (I used 400g; the fresher the better)
Salt (¼t?)
3/16 c plain flour (hehe. The original recipe called for ¼ cup, but because I added the soup mix I reduced the flour by ¼)
2/3 packet of mushroom powdered soup mix
4c chicken stock
2 2-inch sprigs of lemon thyme
½ - 2/3c milk
About 100g sour cream
2t chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ - ½ t dried tarragon

Melt butter in saucepan. Sauté garlic and onion until clear, but not caramelised. Add mushrooms, cook stirring until reduced (~7mins?). Add salt to taste. Add flour and soup mix. Cook for 1-2 mins, stirring constantly. Add first 1.5 cups of stock slowly so flour doesn’t clump. Add rest of stock. Throw in thyme sprigs. Bring to boil, then simmer for 10 mins. Optionally, let soup cool and process to desired consistency (I prefer not to process this soup). Add milk and sour cream. Heat until cream is melted. Add herbs. Serve hot with crusty bread.

The Results
Is this soup a successful reflection of the key French flavours? I absolutely think so. It's warm and satisfying due to the cream and butter, but light and delicate at the same time because of the lemon. Because it's quite rich, I wouldn't make it every week, but this is definitely a grand soup for special occasions B-)

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