This delicious and hearty soup is perfect for a rainy autumn day - and there are a fair few of those happening at the moment here in London! Leeks, celery, chestnut mushrooms, garlic, fresh thyme, Dijon mustard, bay leaves, beautiful stock and fresh oyster mushrooms. VOILÀ. DIVINE.
40g unsalted butter
1 large or 2 small leeks, washed thoroughly and sliced
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, sliced
500g chestnut mushrooms, roughly sliced
2Tbsp smoked lardons or pancetta (optional)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 bay leaves
1Tbsp fresh Thyme leaves, rubbed a little to release the oils
1L vegetable or chicken stock
150g oyster mushrooms
salt and pepper to taste
Heat the first measure of butter in large saucepan or casserole over a medium-low heat.
Add the leeks, celery, garlic and lardons (if using) and gently cook for 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes or until the mushrooms have softened, darkened, and released their juices.
Add the fresh thyme leaves and dijon mustard and stir through for about 1 minute. Then, add the stock and bay leaves, bring to the boil, then turn to a low heat and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat, and, using a stick blender, blend the soup until it is lovely and smooth. Have a taste and season with more salt and pepper if needed.
In a medium saucepan or frying pan, gently heat the second measure of butter over a medium heat until melted. Stir often, and fry until there's a tinge of brown on the flesh of the mushrooms and they're nice an tender - about 5-8 minutes.
Serve the soup ladled in to bowls with a few of the oyster mushrooms and a sprinkling of more fresh thyme leaves, and crusty bread, if desired! I actually found it was enough of a meal on its own!
If you're non-vegetarian, use some extra lardons as a garnish by frying them until crispy. The soup can also handle a lovely dollop of crème fraîche, too, if you're after a more creamy soup - but to be honest, it doesn't really need it!
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