Thursday, 15 December 2016

Chestnut and Mushroom Soup

I'd recently bought some cooked vacuum packed chestnuts and I had some chestnut mushrooms in my increasingly dwindling fridge stocks so an idea came to life to combine these most seasonal of ingredients.

The flavour of mushrooms is great but the slippery texture in a soup isn't ideal unless you combine it with something starchy.  I'm not a fan of potato in soups but I love using other vegetables to thicken soups and stews and why not chestnuts?


Chestnuts are a bit of a faff to prepare from raw which is why I used pre cooked ones here but they are bang in season and make this delicious, filling and thick soup which is a delight of wintery flavours and also smooth as silk.

Chestnut and Mushroom Soup - Serves 1-2 depending on portion sizes

Ingredients

1 Red onion, finely diced
1 fat clove of Garlic
150g, 5oz Chestnut mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp Olive oil or butter (use oil to make dairy free and vegan)
Two sprigs of fresh thyme*
5g, approx 1 tbsp dried Porcini mushrooms
180g, 6oz Cooked chestnuts (whole, unsweetened)
Seasoning

Method

Soak the dried mushrooms in 250ml, just under half a pint of boiling water.

Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the onion gently until softened.  Add the fresh mushrooms and garlic and continue to fry until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add the dried mushrooms with the soaking liquid, the thyme leaves stripped from the stalks and the chestnuts and bring to a simmer.

Simmer for 10 minutes and then blend in a blender adding a little extra boiling water if too thick.  Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with a fried mushroom and additional fresh thyme for decoration if liked.

*  It's about thyme!  Groan... the puns don't get any better do they?  

In all seriousness, thyme is a much underused herb but great for British food.  It is especially at home with autumnal and wintery flavours and what's great is at this time of year, the plant is still happy and healthy in the garden.  I have a huge plant simply grown from a supermarket pot which cost me less than £2.  If you have a patch of ground, you can grow thyme and never have to buy it again!

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