Mary's Mushroom Soup
My Mum is an extraordinary cook. Some of my earliest memories at home are of dinner parties that my parents threw. The pizza oven cracking and popping with red hot jarrah embers and the smell of good food wafting through the house. Even on a regular night, without guests or fanfare, my Mum will elicit moans of delight at the dinner table. She has a long repertoire of 'simple' dishes. For a good few years, we would eat this mushroom soup once a week. While she doesn't make it as often now (not sure why), I got thinking about it the other day. It's a nourishing soup that has a deliciously rich flavour and is very easy to make. I have added a few tweaks to the recipe, as sons are prone to do.
- 3 brown onions
- 2 sticks of celery
- 2 cloves of garlic
- A small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
- 500-700g mushrooms (champignons, field or button)
- 1 handful of dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in a cup of boiling water
- 5 potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1.5 litres of water
- Good quality olive oil
Sweat the onions, celery and parsley*. Add the garlic after a few minutes, but don't allow to colour. While the sofrito is slowly frying clean up your mushrooms by peeling them or brushing them... which ever takes your fancy. Add as soon as the onions start to take colour and fry on a high heat until the water from the mushroom's is almost all evaporated. At this stage I added the soaked porcini and fried for a few minutes. Then add the potatoes, water from the porcini** and 1-1.5 litres of water. Bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 20-30 minutes. Use a hand blender to bring to a think consistency. My mum famously says "we'll all be eating pureed food when we are older, so until then make sure there is some texture in your soups!". Words of wisdom I say. Season and serve with fresh olive oil, more black pepper and some crusty bread.
* Tweak 1: After making a few River Cafe soups with fried parsley in the sofrito, I haven't looked back and use it for nearly all soups.
** Tweak 2: I can't remember mum ever using dried porcini. Probably because they were imported from Italy and very expensive. Luckily you can now find quite affordable dried porcini in most good delis.