Fish & Shellfish
Vegetarian & Vegan
My friend and colleague Frances emailed me the other day to say she need inspiration for the contents of her fridge: mushrooms, onion, garlic and cheese. Mushroom soup immediately came to mind, and this is the recipe I suggested. I used leeks because I happened to have brought some back with me from the allotment that morning (I know, smug or what!), but onions would work just as well. The cheese-topped bread crouton is what really makes the soup special although, if you look closely at the photo, you might be able to see that on mine it’s actually half a cheese scone as that’s what I had to hand at the time! (I will put the recipe for those on the blog soon - after a bit of experimentation, they were the tallest, tastiest scones I’ve made so far).
Slice or chop the mushrooms, then heat a large, non-stick frying or saute pan as hot as you can get it with just a tiny splash of oil. Fry the mushrooms hard to drive off the water quickly and colour them (the more golden you can get them, the more flavour the soup will have). Then turn down the heat and add the leeks and the thyme.
While the leeks are softening, lightly toast the bread slices under the grill then rub the peeled clove of garlic all over them (it's amazing how much flavour that will impart), then slice the garlic and add to the leeks. Set the toasted bread aside. Fry the garlic for a minute, then add the stock to the pan and bubble gently for a few minutes.
Whiz the soup in a food processor or with a stick blender until fairly smooth, then stir in the milk and check the seasoning. Spoon into heatproof bowls, top each bowl with a toasted bread circle and put a slice of cheese on top. Cook under a hot grill until golden and bubbling.