Recipe: Mushroom, leek & thyme soup
There is something very comforting about a creamy, rich mushroom soup. I love the umami flavour of mushrooms – that savoury, salty and slightly meaty taste – and on the days when you don’t feel like cooking a heavier meat or fish based meal, this soup is a real winner. You can make a bigger batch and freeze it in small portions to pull out and warm up whenever you need a quick meal or a dinner starter. This soup is dairy free, grain and gluten free.
Cook’s notes: Dried porcini mushrooms can be purchased in most supermarkets and delis. I love to have some on hand to add to stews, casseroles and sauces as they add a lovely woody and forest taste and smell. You can use a variety of fresh button mushrooms but I prefer Swiss Brown or crimini mushrooms to the more bland white button mushrooms. You can also throw in some meatier Portobello and exotic oyster and shitake for a more complex flavour. Basically, use this as a base recipe and adapt it as you please. Peeled white potato can be used instead of sweet potato for those who are not avoiding nightshades…or potatoes ;).
- 10-15 grams (about 1/2 an ounce) dried porcini mushrooms
- 2 tbsp butter or ghee if avoiding all dairy
- 1 large leek, pale part diced (make sure to rinse the leek well)
- 1 celery stick, finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, diced
- 10 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves only (dried can be used as well, about 1 tbsp)
- 15 medium crimini/Swiss brown mushrooms, roughly diced
- 1 small sweet potato (use the purple one with white flesh if you can get it), peeled and diced
- 3 cups good quality chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- 1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp cashew, sunflower or almond butter
- Garnish: 3-4 button mushrooms, fresh sprigs of thyme, black pepper
- Place dried porcini mushrooms in a small bowl with boiling water and soak for 15-20 minutes. Once softened, strain but reserve the liquid and dice the mushrooms.
- While porcini mushrooms are soaking, heat butter or ghee in a large heavy saucepan and sauté diced leek and celery until soft and golden, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add garlic, thyme, mushrooms and sweet potatoes and stir for a minute until slightly golden as well.
- Add soaked porcini mushrooms together with about half a cup of reserved mushroom infused liquid. Follow that with the stock, fish sauce, mustard, bay leaf, pepper and lemon zest. Add a little bit more water if the saucepan is overcrowded or if you like your soup on the thinner side. Stir, cover with a lid and bring to boil. Reduce the heat to simmering and cook the soup with the lid on for about 15 minutes. After that, remove the lid and cook uncovered for a further 5 minutes.
- Finally transfer to a blender or food processor or use a hand-held puree stick right in the saucepan (off the heat though). Add lemon juice and nut butter and process until well pureed. Taste and season with sea salt if needed, depends on the stock you used. You can also add a little extra lemon juice if you like a bit more zing. If the soup is too thick, you can dilute it with a little warm water.
- One last step! Slice the remaining 5 mushrooms and pan fry them in a little coconut oil or butter until browned and season with a little sea salt. Use those and the fresh thyme sprigs to garnish the soup when served.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Number of servings: 2-4