I consider myself a soup person. I could easily live on soups, although I do prefer the hot (temperature-hot) versions – unlike Chris, whose soup craving depends on the weather. He enjoys cold ones on a hot day and hot ones on a cold day.
Hot mushroom and roasted garlic soup is definitely one of my favorites…next to the traditional, Polish, Sunday chicken soup and the aromatic, rustic tomato and garlic soup, broccoli, garlic and blue cheese soup, cauliflower and truffle oil soup…yes, I could definitely live on soups. (By the way, Seb, if you are reading this, I hope you’ll put the chicken soup on the menu at Bella Luce Restaurant in June please, when we are over in Guernsey again! We’ll definitely come to have some!)
Here is the story of my mushroom and roasted garlic soup
When I reach back into my memories I can almost feel the cool dew on my feet and the freshness of a new day in the air. My granny didn’t have to ask me twice if I wanted to go mushroom picking with her. I’d be ready and out in minutes with my little basket. Teeth can get cleaned later!
I knew that my granny would be making something really delicious using our freshly picked mushrooms later during the day, and years after the mushroom and roasted garlic soup became my variation on one of her recipes. Many traditional, Polish dishes like pierogi, stews, cabbage or beans contain mushrooms, and in the late summer my granny would collect and dry them for the winter time.
I remember so well following my granny around the forest, the early sun lurking shyly from behind the trees and the lovely fresh smell of cool morning mist during my brief summer holiday visits to the country.
The forest by my granny’s house was wealthy in Porcinis, Bay Boletes, Cossacks, Bunnies and Parasols and our baskets would fill up quickly. Although, our walks would not be longer than an hour and a half, I swear that the hot cup of tea on the return home tasted like no other ordinary cup of tea!
By the mid-morning we’d be sitting side by side over an old newspaper, cleaning and evaluating our bit sticky and still covered in the morning dew pickings. I remember making long, long mushroom necklaces with a use of a big needle & a thick thread, which granny would hang above the stove to dry.
I didn’t know back then how much I’ll appreciate the memories of our morning walks later in the years. Mushroom and roasted garlic soup idea came to me after I moved abroad. Probably out of longing for the wonderland of forest tracks.
In my mushroom and roasted garlic soup recipe I use dry Porcinis or dry mixed mushrooms together with Portobello – these days all bought in a supermarket, however non-romantic this sounds. It is surprising though how far 30 grams of dry mushrooms can go, especially if accompanied by roasted garlic and a bit of thyme!
The feeling of the damp, cool and soft forest moss early in the morning and the beautiful earthy smell of the forest mushrooms drying above granny’s coal stove will always be among my fondest summer holiday memories.
Now, every time I cook mushroom and roasted garlic soup I think about my granny and me following her steps in the morning forest.
I hope you’ll enjoy my earthy mushroom and roasted garlic soup recipe. It is full of precious childhood memories and good times in the country.
- 30g dried porcini mushrooms
- 400 g best fresh mushrooms you can get in your local grocery store (roughly chopped)
- 2 medium size onions roughly chopped
- 1 big roasted garlic head (10-12 cloves)
- 1 medium carrot (finely chopped)
- 1 celery sticks (roughly chopped)
- 3 tbsp. of fresh chopped parsley
- 80 g salted butter
- 800 ml of good quality stock
- 3 fresh thyme strings (1 tea spoon of dried)
- 1 ½ teaspoon of salt or to taste
- ½ teaspoon ground pepper
- 100 ml heavy cream or dollops of sour cream to serve
- Bring stock to the boil, turn the heat off and submerge your dry mushrooms in it, so they can soak up a bit.
- In a large deep pan brown onions in butter on a slow heat (don't let the butter burn).
- Add the fresh mushrooms, carrots, celery and thyme to the pan with onions and let it all sweat for 15 minutes, under the cover and on a slow heat, stirring in from time to time.
- Add stock with the dry mushrooms and squeeze the garlic cloves from the whole roasted garlic head to the pan. Let it all slowly come to the boil. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add parsley leaves.
- Liquidate the mixture with a hand blender to your favorite texture. Adjust the seasoning and add the cream of your choice.