Wild Mushroom Soup (Velouté de Champignons Sauvages)
In France, many people pick their own wild mushrooms, taking them to a chemist to be checked before using them in all sorts of delicious dishes. The dried mushrooms bring an earthy flavour to this soup, but use 175 g/6 oz fresh wild mushrooms instead when available.
- 30 g / 1 oz dried wild mushrooms, such as morels, ceps or porcini
- 1.5 litres/21/2 pints/6 cups chicken stock
- 30 g/1 oz/2 tbsp butter
- 2 onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 900 g/2 lb button or other cultivated mushrooms, trimmed and sliced 2.5 ml/1/2 tsp dried thyme
- 1.5 ml/1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 30-45 ml/2—3 tbsp plain flour
- 125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup Madeira or dry sherry
- 125 ml/4 fl oz/1/2 cup crème fraîche or soured cream
- Sald and freshly ground black pepper Snipped fresh chives, to garnish
- Put the dried mushrooms in a sieve and rinse well under cold runing water, shaking to remove as munch sand as possible. Place them in a saucepan with 250 ml/8 fl oz/1 cup of the stock and bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside for30—40 minutes to soak.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy saucepan or flameproof casserole, melt the butter over a medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook for 5—7 minutes until they are well softened and just golden.
- Stir in the garlic and fresh mushrooms and cook for 4-5 minutes until they begin to soften, then add the salt and pepper, thyme and nutmeg and sprinkle over the flour. Cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until well blended.
- Add the Madeira or sherry, the remaining chicken stock, the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid and cook, covered, over a medium heat for 30—40 minutes until the mushrooms are very tender.
- Purée the soup in batches in a blender or food processor. Strain it back into the saucepan, pressing firmly to force the purée through the sieve. Stir in the crème fraîche or soured cream and sprinkle with the snipped chives just before serving.