This beautiful winter soup comprises Portobello or Swiss Brown mushrooms, good quality chicken stock, lots of pungent garlic, thyme, some fresh cream and a wee bit of sherry to give it that extra little somethin' somethin'.
50 grams butter
1 red onion, peeled and toughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 big fat garlic cloves, crushed
600 grams Portobello mushrooms (or a mix of your favourites), sliced
5 sprigs thyme and 1 sprig lemon thyme (optional)
2 bay leaves
5 cups good quality chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
½ cup cream plus 3 tablespoons extra
½ cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sherry
4 small brown mushrooms extra, thinly sliced
1 tablespoons olive oil
⅓ cup micro-greens (mine were micro-purples!)
8 slices good quality wholegrain bread
150 grams Gruyere cheese, grated
1 ½ cups caramelised onions or Onion jam
3 tablespoons butter
Heat the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook onions with sea salt and pepper over a medium/gentle heat for 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, mushrooms, thyme and bay leaves. Cook for a further 15 minutes over a medium heat, stirring every few minutes until mushrooms are pretty well cooked. Add stock, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for half an hour.
Add cream, milk and sherry and cook a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat, remove thyme stalks (the leaves will have all dropped off) and bay leaves. transfer to a food processor and whiz until combined. When ready to serve taste for seasoning, then in a small fry pan cook extra small mushrooms in olive oil over a medium heat for about 3–4 minutes or until almost crispy.
Drizzle with a little extra cream, garnish with mushrooms and optional micro greens and serve with Gruyere and Caramelised Onion Toasties.
Gruyere and Caramelised Onion Toasties
While soup is heating, heat two large sauté pans. Butter bread and put 4 slices in (2 in each pan), buttered-side down. Top with evenly divided caramelised onions and Gruyere cheese, and finally the extra bread slices, butter-side up. When toasties are golden on the bottom, carefully flip and cook the other side – about 5-6 minutes all up.