Porcini Mushroom Soup
This is a wonderful Polish soup (vegan option) traditionally eaten on Xmas Eve. But, since we are cooking with dried mushrooms, and they keep forever, you can make it at any time of the year. I love making soups as you can pack them with as many vegetables (and vitamins!) as you want, they are easy to make and you can store them in your fridge for up to a week. So if you make a big pot, no need to cook everyday!
Equipment: Large saucepan in which you can both boil and fry*.
*If you like soups/risottos/bakes – I would invest in a Le Creuset pot, they will last you forever and you can also put them in the oven!
Makes: 4-5 dishes
Prep time: 15 min
Cooking time: 30 min
The base (of more or less every soup):
- 3-4 medium size leeks or 4-5 red onions (I prefer leeks as they are easier to chop)
- 2 tbsps. of coconut oil / olive oil / rapeseed oil (but not extra virgin olive oil as it is not made to cook over high temperatures!)
- Small celeriac
- 1 parsnip
- 1-2 carrots
- Garlic (I add at least 5 cloves!)
- 2 tbsps. vegetable broth
- 1,5 l of water
- 5 bay leaves
*Note: Most root vegetables ideally should be organic as these are the ones that soak up the most pesticides by growing in the earth.
**Note: You can use fewer vegetables, it really depends on how packed the soup you want to have!
The flavouring of the soup (in this case: mushrooms):
- 50g dried Porcini mushrooms
- 4 Portabella mushrooms (or any other ones in this quantity but NOT Champignons as they have no taste)
- 3 tbsps. Balsamic Vinegar
- 160 ml Coconut cream (this is a small can from Waitrose)
- 1⁄2 tsp. grated nutmeg
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Your favourite type of pasta
1. Start by ‘preparing’ the bay leaves. To get the most aroma from them you need to literally squash the leaves and put them into a small pan. Pour over 100 ml of boiling water and add a pinch of salt – this will get the boiling point of water to 102C and extract more flavour. Put aside.
2. Chop the leeks or onions and throw them onto a big base pan (or a frying pan) on a high heat. Then add the coconut oil and stir constantly until they caramelize / become slightly brown. The high temperature and constant stirring is necessary to allow the oxidation of sugars, which means extracting the sweetness of the leeks/onions.
3. Finely chop the garlic cloves (or use a garlic press) and add them to the leeks/onions.
4. Chop the celeriac, parsnip and carrots into 1cm squares (I use a blender to get the consistency similar to the one you would get if you were to grate them). Add it to the pan with onions. Stir a couple of times and add the bay leaves water pouring it through a colander to get rid of the leaves.
5. Pour 1.5 l of boiling water in a separate measuring jug and mix in the vegetable broth. Add it to the vegetables. Bring to boil and then start to simmer.
6. In a small separate bowl, pour enough boiling water over the dried mushrooms to cover them. Put aside for about 10 minutes.
7. Wash and grate the fresh mushrooms and add them to the soup.
8. Add the dried mushrooms including the water they were soaked in.
9. Add balsamic vinegar, coconut cream and nutmeg.
10. Simmer for about 50 minutes.
11. Add pepper to taste. We add pepper at the end of the cooking process as if it is boiled for too long it becomes bitter.
12. Serve with pasta of your choice and garnish with a pinch of parsley.
PS. Any soup is always better the next day so try to prepare it in advance.