Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumnal soup

No, I didn't use the mushroom growing in the living room. It was a windy, blustery day today, and the big thick grey clouds coming in over the sea made me think of home made cream of mushroom soup. Of course, it being Italy, and only the second half of September, it was still in the upper 20s and heavy and humid, so not really very autumnal, but you take what you can get.

Take

1 packet of sliced mushrooms you bought last week and were in danger of going funny in the fridge
1 mushroom flavoured oxo cube
1 small onion
2 cloves fresh garlic
1 sprig fresh parsley
5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup marsala or dry sherry
3 tbsp rice flour
whole milk
heavy cream

Chop all the mushrooms and the onion very fine, mince the garlic and parsley. Reserve a portion of the chopped mushrooms. Saute gently together in a pot over a low heat with 2 tbsp of the butter until the mushrooms start releasing their juice. Pour in 3 or 4 cups filtered water, the marsala and the oxo cube and allow to simmer for about ten minutes.

While it is simmering, make a cream sauce. Melt the rest of the butter in the bottom of a heavy-bottomed pot, sprinkle in the rice flour (for primal people; if you don't care about your health, you can carry on using white wheat flour) and stir over a medium heat until you've got a thick paste. Add the milk and whisk until smooth. Continue stirring while adding cream until you have a nice thick consistency. (Don't worry about the cream sauce being a bit bland.) Stir constantly as long as the cream sauce is over the heat. With a little practice you will master the art of knowing how much milk and cream to use, but I can't really tell you. Wing it. Do not allow to boil. When the cream sauce has reached a thick, even consistency, remove from the heat and set aside.

Place the mushroom mixture in the blender and blend on high for two minutes. (Watch out, be careful not to overfill the blender or it will go all over you and you'll be scalded. Never fill a blender all the way to the top. If you've got too much stuff, do it in batches.)

Once the mushroom mixture is very smooth, put it back in the pot and over a low heat. Whisk in the cream sauce and you can add a little more cream. Wash the heavy bottomed pot and add another tablespoon or so of butter and saute the reserved portion of the chopped mushrooms and add them to the soup as a garnish.

Eat.

(Very nice with a little grated pecorino on top. But what isn't?)



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