Mushroom and Lentil Soup with Gorgonzola Polenta Croutons

, from Issue #30. September, 2015
Photography by Manja Wachsmuth.
Mushroom and Lentil Soup with Gorgonzola Polenta Croutons

Serves: 4


400 ml water
100 grams instant polenta
30 grams Gorgonzola or creamy blue cheese
30 grams grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
oil for frying

30 grams butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
100 grams puy lentils
600 grams mixed mushrooms: brown or white buttons and Portobello, sliced
3 tablespoons Marsala
2 cups beef, chicken or vegetable stock
large handful flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

To serve


Croutons: Line a 22 cm x 12 cm loaf tin with plastic wrap. Bring the water to the boil in a large saucepan and salt it. Gradually add the polenta in a thin stream, stirring continuously with a whisk until smooth. As soon as it boils reduce the heat to medium. Add the Gorgonzola and Parmesan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon, for about 4-6 minutes until thick. Take care as polenta tends to spit.      

Remove from the heat and pour into the prepared tin. Using a dampened palette knife or the back of a spoon, spread it evenly and smooth off the surface. Leave the polenta to cool and set for at least 30 minutes. This can be done up to 2 days in advance. Once set, cut the polenta into 1 cm-1.5 cm cubes.

Soup: Heat the butter and oil in a medium saucepan until sizzling. Add the onion, sauté for 3-4 minutes until translucent but not browned, then stir in the rosemary and lentils. Add the Marsala and let it sizzle then stir in the mushrooms. 

Cook over a high heat until the mushrooms are soft, before adding the stock. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer for a further 20 minutes. Stir through most of the parsley just before serving.

To serve: Heat a little oil in a large non-stick frying pan and fry the polenta on all sides until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan and drain on kitchen paper.

Serve the soup in individual bowls topped with croutons, grated Parmesan and extra torn parsley leaves.

Marsala: a fortified wine from Sicily. Dry Marsala can be drunk as an aperitif or added to savoury dishes. The sweet version is also used in cooking, such as the classic dessert, Zabaglione.