For creating richly flavoured dishes without the meat, few things can match the power of mushrooms. This vegetarian soup recipe uses dried mushrooms to provide the depth and basis of the broth as well as fresh mushrooms for their wonderful texture.
If you find dried mushrooms to be expensive you may want to search out a good source in your area, I have seen good quality ones on sale at costco and I believe there are good online sources as well.
Mushroom Soup Recipe(serves 4)
1. Boil a kettle and pour 4 cups of boiling water over the dried mushrooms. Set aside for 15 minutes.
2. Once they have rehydrated line a fine mesh sieve with a paper towel and pour the mushrooms through and into a bowl, reserving the liquid. Squeeze any excess moisture out. Transfer the mushrooms to a colander and rinse well under cold water. (Note: the mushroom liquid may need to go through the paper towel again until there is no grit remaining.)
3. Heat a large saucepan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the onion and stir until softened.
4. Stir in the sliced fresh mushrooms in batches of about 1/3. Allow to brown, before adding more mushrooms. Stir in the fresh thyme, freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt. Add in the reconstituted mushrooms and allow to cook for a few minutes.
5. Add the madeira and simmer until reduced by half. Stir in the chicken stock and the mushroom liquid. Season with salt as necessary. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes.
6. Use an immersion blender to finely pulse the mushrooms so there is still texture but it is nice and fine. Stir in the parsley and cream and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste and serve hot.
* If you do not have madeira dry brandy or some white wine.