Mushroom soup for parties

Mushroom soup doesn’t sound particularly enticing for a dinner party except for when the weather is really cold and wet and it takes forever to get warmed up once one has reached the sanctuary of a warm room, away from the thoroughly inclement weather that hit us just over a week ago.  It wasn’t so much a dinner party as a ‘gathering’ of people who  are distantly connected, geographically speaking, but very close in terms of friendship ties.  I didn’t even know two of the people coming that evening (they were son and daughter-in-law of one of our friends) and, to make matters more complicated, they were landing that very evening at a nearby airport — and so there was the very real possibility that their plane  might be delayed.  Another friend was driving down to Rome from Siena, and negotiating the treacherous driving conditions meant that his ETA was a moot point too.

All this to say that my menu had to take into account that dinner might be very late in any case, that we didn’t have a clue when we’d actually sit down and that we might even have to start eating before some of the dinner guests arrived.  Hence the polenta casserole in my previous post (and the martini that went into its making) and hence mushroom soup.  Soup is warm and soothing, it is nourishing and, very helpfully, it can be heated up for any late arrivers without disappointing.

This soup was made using very plain button mushrooms but I also added one packet of dried porcini mushrooms to make it a little bit more exciting (if soup can be thought of as exciting …whatever).

1

It took quite a long time to make but it is also very EASY to prepare, so it doesn’t ruffle one’s temperament thermometer in the kitchen.  In order to thicken its consistency, I used potatoes.  When it was time to process the mushrooms into a soup as such, I mashed the potatoes separately.  That is because it is not a good idea to use a hand blender to process potatoes: they go all sticky and gluey and the consistency is vile.  Just use an ordinary potato masheror even a good strong fork.  For the rest, the recipe is really a no-brainer.  Read on.

In terms of quantities … use your eyesight.  Think of a soup bowl and imagine how many mushrooms, sliced, would fit in nicely.  And that came to 6 per person.  There were 12 of us that evening … so I bought 6 x12 mushrooms plus a few more handfuls for extra.

4I then sliced the mushrooms.

23I placed the packet of dried porcini mushrooms into a jug, and added about 1 liter of hot water to it.  I let them sit there and steep their taste into the water while I got on with making a ‘soffritto’ : cutting some carrot, celery and shallot.  I also added a couple of cloves of garlic.

5I put the diced vegetables into the soup pot and added some butter as well as olive oil.  That dark cylinder-shaped object you see is not poo that an insect accidentally plopped into the pot, it is a kernel of pepper that gives off a lovely scent.

6

Cook the vegetables on a medium heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

7Then add the mushrooms that you have sliced and mix everything up.  Turn the heat up too.  After a while, the mushrooms release their own liquid and we want some of that to burn off.  Cook for at least 10 minutes.

IMG_4251This is where we are going to have to do some arithmetic.  I had worked out that we were going to need the better part of 3 liters (1 liter of liquid for soup is enough for 4 people, thus  3 liters was going to cover enough for 12 people).  What you see in the photo is the 1 liter which had been used to steep the dried porcini.  (The porcini can be seen behind.) Set aside, in anticipation.

IMG_4253

Pour another liter of water into a jug.  Again, set aside.IMG_4252You can now add the porcini mushrooms to the rest of the mushrooms.  A good pinch of salt and pepper.  Mix everything up again.

IMG_4254Keep cooking the mushrooms.  The liquid you see is purely the liquid that was given off by the mushrooms.  Meanwhile:

IMG_4255One large leek, trimmed and washed and then sliced …

IMG_4256Cook the rings of leek with butter, on a gentle heat.  They need to ‘wilt’, we don’t want them to go brown.  When cooked, turn the heat off and set aside.

IMG_4258The potatoes … they need to be boiled separately in plenty of salted water.

ASSEMBLY TIME

IMG_4259Add the cooked leek …

IMG_4260Add the first liter … mix and stir.  Turn the heat up a little.

IMG_4261Add the second liter.

IMG_4269Mash the potatoes …

IMG_4271Process the mushrooms and diced vegetables and leek with an immersion blender (or a food mill if you prefer).

IMG_4272It gets to look like this … not very attractive, let’s face it (but the smell was already good).

IMG_4273Mr Mushed-up-mushrooms on the left, Miss-Mushed-up-potatoes on the right.  He proposed, she accepted.

IMG_4274The got married and mingled.  Mix well and stir and keep the heat low.

IMG_4275The consistency was very thick so I started pouring in from my third jug of water.

IMG_4276Jug number 3 … surprisingly, the pot required the whole jug of water!  Taste the soup, add a little more salt and pepper if necessary.

IMG_4296A martini was very necessary for me, to keep me going  …. with the rest of the dinner.

IMG_4314Lemon.  Lemon juice is very handy when it comes to certain soups … it adds the je-ne-said-quoi element.

IMG_4315Squeeze the lemon, stir and taste.  Squeeze some more, stir and taste and so on and so forth until you are smacking your tongue in appreciation.


IMG_4327And last … add some cream.  It is the finishing touch.

I was unable to take any more photos of this soup that evening but all the guests said they enjoyed its and its invigorating properties.  There was some left over the next day, however:

IMG_4349I warmed some up for lunch …

IMG_4350Scattered some marjoram leaves and a good grating of parmesan cheese on top and … it was just the business!

IMG_4351Nothing like leftover soup, now, is there …

About myhomefoodthatsamore

Community celebration via food, wine and all beautiful things.
This entry was posted in Herbs and plants, italian home food, Primi (first courses - usually a pasta or risotto), Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Mushroom soup for parties

  1. Love mushroom soup. Would never had thought of using a little lemon. I normally grate over some fresh nutmeg at this time of year. Might try the lemon, though.

  2. Your soup sounds delicious, warm and comforting. I’m sure your guests thoroughly enjoyed the meal.

    • Thank you, they did. I think they would have enjoyed anything by the time we sat down to eat … it was nearly 10 p.m. and everyone was tired. But gatherings have this amazing power to re-charge us, don’t you think?

  3. Valentina says:

    Delicious! I know your guests enjoyed it very much. Merry Christmas to you and family.

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