Saturday, 23 July 2011

Mushroom Soup

Although quite common in this day, mushrooms in the past have been more in the realm of magic and mystique. Egyptian Pharaohs reserved mushrooms for themselves, forbidding the commoners to eat them and the Romans passed laws declaring mushrooms as “Food of the Gods”. Today , us lesser mortals are fortunate enough to enjoy them !

Wash your mushrooms very well under running water . Next snap off the stems , and let them soak in a bowl of cold salted water . This will ensure that all soil particles are removed and the salt kills whatever insects may remain . After 20 minutes or so wash and rinse the mushrooms again .

1 Packet Fresh Mushroom ( 2 cups chopped mushrooms ).
2 Tablespoons Butter .
1 Large onion Minced .
2 Cloves Garlic ( Minced ).
3 Cups Stock .
1 Cup milk / Cream ( or use half of each ).
Ground Black Pepper .
2-3 Sprigs of Tarragon ( if possible )
Salt to Taste .
45 Ml Cognac ( some recipes call for sherry too )

In a heavy base saucepan melt the butter . Crackle the pepper 30 seconds and then add the minced onions , garlic and the tarragon. Reduce heat to minimum and cook the onions covered 5 minutes till they are limp and translucent .

Now add the mushrooms , increase heat to maximum and cook the mushrooms another 2 minutes .

Remove from the flame and set aside half the mushrooms for later use  , while you liquidize the rest of the mushrooms with some stock . Return the pureed mushrooms back to a medium flame , add the balance stock along with the cognac and salt , cook a minute then add the milk or cream along with the remaining mushrooms . Simmer on lowest heat , you don't want your milk / cream to go bad .

Next , introduce the remaining mushrooms to the soup , simmer to blend flavors for a minute . Adjust seasoning , remove tarragon and enjoy a delicious healthy soup .If you have some fresh tarragon remaining , you may garnish each soup bowl with 1/4 of a sprig while serving .

Almost all of us are familiar with mushrooms and their miraculous and magical powers. Particularly those who have read or heard a lot of fairy-tales such as Alice in Wonderland, Three Bears and a Baby etc. or those who have been playing the Super Mario Brothers.
Mushrooms are low in calories, fat-free, cholesterol-free and very low in sodium, yet they provide important nutrients, including selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D and more.

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