Monday, September 1, 2008

Mushroom and Walnut soup

Sunday 8.30am

This is a soup that I have been thinking of for a long time but for some reason have never got round to making. Shame really because it is quite delicious. Walnuts can be quite strongly flavoured but when cooked on top of bread are much milder, so I have roasted them this way first for my soup. - Put the oven on to heat, say 190 centigrade.If you are making bread as well you'll need it on anyway.

- roughly chop a small onion and a celery stalk and put them on to cook slowly in some oil and butter, enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
- make up some vegetable stock - a pint and a quarter.

- put a handfull of walnuts on a baking tray, pour on some olive oil and roll them around a bit until coated. Put them in the oven to toast.

- while everything is cooking, chop up a good couple of handfuls of mushrooms say eight ounces.

- keep an eye on the walnuts because they burn very quickly, take them out as soon as they start to change colour and go golden brown.

- once the onions and celery are translucent and golden coloured as well, add the mushrooms and stir about a bit to mix and let them cook gently until all the liquid that come out has just about disappeared.

- meanwhile put the walnuts in a ziplock bag and whack them with a rolling pin until well crushed and then put them in a bowl covered with some vegetable stock ( half strength rapunzel as usual )

- the rest of the stock goes into the pan and left to simmer gently until the mushrooms are cooked, not long say ten minutes.

- now for the messy bit. Put the walnuts and stock into a liquidiser and whizz them up a bit. Gradually add the rest of the soup from the pan and continue until it is all as smooth as you like.

- and thats it, just return the soup to the now washed out saucepan to reheat.

Mine did not need any salt or pepper but you'll try yours to check.
At first the soup tasted quite mushroomy so I roasted another handfull of walnuts and whizzed the whole lot in the liquidiser again. Now it tasted quite walnuty so I suppose you could vary things using anywhere from 2 to 4 ounces of walnuts depending on what you fancy.

I had mine with some bread to which I had added a teaspoonfull of garam masala. It had quite a weird flavour, a bit like hot cross buns but went well with the soup. Some of Nicola's sundried tomato bread would have been great as well.

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