Friday, December 21, 2007

Probably the best mushroom soup in the world

I hope that everyone has had a wonderful Christmas and that you are continuing to do so. Sick of cold turkey yet? I hope not. I'll let you into a little secret - I think I actually enjoy the leftovers more that I do the 'main event'. Is that odd? I even love cold parsnips, cold stuffing... and... cold bread sauce. I'm a little upset this year though as I'm missing out on many of the leftover delights. I've left the family home down on the Isle of Wight and am stopping over in London for the night before heading north to spend Hogmanay in Scotland. It will be wonderful, but it was a little tough leaving the family at home with the remaining turkey and ham and the promise of turkey soup and Brussels Sprouts bubble and squeak. I can't complain though as my wonderful mother packed me off with an individual portion of the aforementioned soup and a slice of Christmas pudding!

As some will know, this year was my first attempt at cooking the Christmas lunch in its entirety. I think it went fairly well. Everything was ready together, on time and most components tasted pretty good. The turkey was ever-so-slightly over cooked which was disappointing considering the number of methods I studied prior to tackling the bird. First I looked at Delia whose total cooking time would have been around 5 hours for a bird of the size I had. Thank goodness I didn't follow her method as my poor turkey would have been frazzled. I followed a very similar method (a blast of heat at the start, then cover with a foil tent and lower the temperature for the remaining cooking time) but still my turkey was ready an hour before it should have been. I think my mother's oven is far hotter than it should be! It didn't matter though. The bird had an extended resting period, which no doubt did it good. What was delicious was the juice that resulted from sitting the turkey on a bed of onion, leek, carrot and celery and adding around half a bottle of white wine to the roasting tray. Yum.

My first ever attempt at Christmas lunch!

The Christmas pudding that I made back in November was (even if I say so myself) a triumph. Served with a generous dollop of brandy butter it was delicious. So much better than even the best shop-bought versions, it had a wonderful flavour without being too terribly heavy. Divine.

Before I head off to Scotland, I would like to share a quick recipe with you. This is, I think, the best mushroom soup I know. I am unable to describe how scrumptious it is but I do urge you to try it. The mustard and Worcestershire sauce are, I would suggest, vital components. Miss them out at your peril!

The Best Mushroom Soup (serves 4)

1/2 lb mushrooms, wiped, trimmed and chopped (any kind - a mixture is nice, but regular mushies are fine too)

1/2 pint white roux sauce made with 1oz butter, 1oz flour and 1/2 pint milk

1/2 pint chicken stock

1 medium onion or 3 shallots - peeled and finely chopped

clove of garlic, finely chopped

20z butter

1 tsp Dijon mustard (or other French mustard - not grainy)

Dash of Worcester sauce

Pinch of mace

1. Melt butter and saute onion and garlic till transparent, without browning

2. Add mushrooms and saute for a further 5-10 mins over a gentle heat.

3. Remove from pan and prepare the roux sauce. Mix the hot stock into the sauce before returning the mushrooms and onions to the pan.

4. Season with salt and pepper, mustard, mace and Worcester sauce. Bring to boil and simmer gently for around 15 minutes stirring occasionally to ensure mushrooms do not stick to pan.

5. Cool slightly and then blitz in liquidiser or using a stab mixer. Return to pan and taste - adjust seasoning if needed. I often add more mustard and Worcester sauce - the flavour it great with the mushrooms.

6. If wished, stir in 1\4 pint double cream, a handful of chopped parsley and a few sauteed mushrooms.


Rosie said...

I am pleased everything went well I knew it would!! I too really enjoy the leftover's I always think they taste better teehee..

Have a lovely Hogmanay and I look forward to hearing all about it soon :)

Rosie x

Renee said...

Awww, mushrooms were on sale at the store just now but I didn't buy them. Dangit. Your soup sounds like it would hit the spot tonight!

Pixie said...

Ah, have been waiting for your mushroom soup, thanks for sharing.

Know exactly what you mean about enjoying leftovers more than the main event. :)

Abitofafoodie said...

Rosie - Leftovers are great, aren't they? I just love picking at all the bits after the main event. Happy New Year.

Nan - hope they are still on sale next time!

Pixie - hope that you give it a try and enjoy it.

kurt said...

are you telling me I am about to employ 30z of butter?

Abitofafoodie said...

Not 30, Kurt, just 3 oz (i.e. three ounces)!!