The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Superb field mushroom soup recipe. Created by S

feild mushroomsIt’s suddenly got a very Autumnal. A mist was rising just above the paddock grass when I slipped in to deliver The Chicken Lady’s smoked bacon this evening.

S welcomed me in, wearing an apron.
“The paddocks are full of field mushrooms. So I’m making mushroom soup.”
I dallied, watching him wash and scrape the skins. Large flat opened gilled specimens picked just hours before.

Happy horses, paddocks and mushrooms go together. I’ve read about this bounty. Around here every field and paddock is owned by someone. You can’t just grab a basket, slip through a hedge and forage. You have to know someone who is generous enough to invite you onto their land. Within seconds my foraging antennae clicked in – finally I had friends with access to wild mushrooms and puffballs.

I must admit, the prognosis for S’s soup didn’t look good. He was referring to a 1940s copy of the Good Housekeeping cookery book. The recipe was stark. Just onions, mushrooms, stock and salt and pepper to season. All vegetables were tossed into the stock as they were chopped in batches, No prinky palaver of frying in oil. The only herb that was mentioned on the list of ingredients was thyme.
“What do you think?”
I suggested a couple of sure fire secrets ingredients – dried wild mushrooms and a little mace. The Chicken Lady mentioned potatoes.

They have thyme in the garden but S wanted to taste the soup first and see. Maybe he’d use our suggestions later. He had tweaked the recipe already, cutting the stock by a quarter and adding garlic.

The Chicken Lady tasted the soup and stood quite still. For a few long seconds she observed her husband. Overcome by curiosity I grabbed a spoon and sampled.

The wild field mushroom soup was superb. The best mushroom soup that I have ever tasted. The super fresh mushrooms, simple recipe and S’s magic touch was the perfect combination. If you have access to wild mushrooms do try S’s recipe. This was the ultimate easy, low fat soup but I’m not sure how this would work with supermarket fare. The freshness of the mushrooms must be the key.

“Why don’t you join us and enjoy a bowl?”
I was so tempted but had to get home to feed the Min Pins and make some bread.

My mushroom soup is now bubbling on the stove. Generous to the last, TCL and S donated a plump carrier of mushrooms to the cottage. A few have been saved for Danny’s first return breakfast on Sunday morning. The rest will dazzle him as a mushroom soup starter tomorrow night. The Chicken Lady rang me later to ask how my soup was progressing. Apparently a spoonful of cream stirred into the soup adds a different dimension and softens the flavours. It would look pretty too

Watching S this evening was a real lesson. With ultra fresh ingredients, keep the recipe simple and only add extra ingredients if necessary.

S’s field mushroom soup recipe

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs of field mushrooms
  • 1.5 pints of cold water
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 very plump garlic clove – crushed and chopped fine
  • 2 medium onions chopped

Method:

  1. Wash the mushrooms and trim the stalks. Scrape the skins gently with a knife rather than peel them (perhaps this was the secret for superb flavour?). Chop them coarsely.
  2. Bring the water to the boil and add the chopped onions, the mushrooms, the sock cubes and the garlic. Bring back to the boil and simmer for half an hour.
  3. Blitz and serve in warm bowls.

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14 Comments

  1. What delicious soup, our local farm shop were selling big boxes of mushrooms for £2, enough to make two batches of this lovely soup, thanks for the recipe

  2. It has been reported that a fresh serving of mushrooms everyday for a woman will prevent breast cancer.

    I don’t know about that one, but mushrooms everyday would be a great thing!!

    This soup is easy. I added a couple of sticks of celery, 2 small red onions, garlic as stated and when it was blitzed I added single cream and scattered parsley over the top.

    Oh, and I use home made chicken stock as the carcass was left over from Saturday’s roast.

    I wonder what ‘Fiona’ said about mushrooms? Has the comment been taken off.

    X-Ray Rocks – I didn’t know you could get white carrots. Ooh they would confuse my family no end!! Ha

    Thanks for the recipe, I love simple things. If it were a Ramsey recipe, he would break the budget. Don’t you think?

  3. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Saira

    Thanks for leaving this comment. I had no idea that this recipe would work with button mushrooms.

  4. I tried your recipe as it was one of the few recipes I could find that didn’t include cream, but I used some regular button mushrooms which I needed to use up. I was worried that it would lack flavour or body without the cream, but it was absolutely delicious!

  5. X-ray Rocks!

    Thanks for the great dinner idea!
    I had to make mushroom soup after reading this post. I added some white carrots to the recipe and used a milk bath to roast the garlic in the oven. Mmmmm. Yummy!

  6. Jo @ LittleFfarm Dairy

    Why on earth, do people scrape/peel veggies…?

    We never, ever remove the skins from mushrooms. Just wipe them gently with dry kitchen paper, pop out the storks (discarding only the grubbly bit on the end), then gently crumble all the resultant parts by hand & use them for whatever tempting dish you care to conjure up.

    It’s the same for spuds: why oh why, remove those delicious, nutritious skins…? OK so hand-mashing may take a little more work – but the extra vitamins, minerals, fibre, flavour & wonderfully earthy bite are worth every extra scrub-factor moment.

    Old, middle-aged & new potatoes alike are treated in the same manner: skins are left ON regardless of whether roast, baked, sauted, crisped or chipped. We often toss our whole-boiled spuds in a light, handmade herb &/or garlic butter….the inevitable result – utterly delicious.

    These days we omit peeling carrots, parsnips, beetroot, potatoes, courgettes, mushrooms or any other relatively thin-skinned veggies…well, why on earth waste ’em?!

    Incidentally we have a friend who’s recently taken over the running of the breakfast service for a 5* B&B establishment in the UK. They are genuinely concerned because at present they’re being ‘actively encouraged’ to source their standard large, flat, pre-cleaned mushrooms from a local supermarket (mushrooms grown commercially in Holland)for the breakfast table.

    These are lightly fried & advertised for the breakfast plate as “field mushrooms”.

    This may hint that said ‘shrooms not only actually grow in a field (which these obviously don’t, being of the commercial Portobello type) but that said field is also local to the patron’s establishment (& Holland, to my mind for UK tourists at least, isn’t exactly local if you’re anticipating your produce has come from a field just a few short yards away).

    The argument is, at least the local supermarket (& I stress, not one of the mainstream players)benefits from regular sales of mushrooms, tomatoes etc as a result – even though these goods are hardly ‘local’.

    So the poor bloke is suffering a real ethical dilemma – how to please bosses, customers, AND Trading Standards…? But if you operated a relatively small business what would you do, & how would tackle this issue…??

    BTW Fiona, my sincere apologies if this spirals the Great Mushroom Debate into a newly-impassioned dimension….although I for one am fascinated to learn what all those staying in ‘guest’ accommodation – from a humble country B&B to an elegant country hotel, expect from their patrons.

    Yet if even only a handful of people provide feedback, it should give our ‘chef de petit dejeuner’ (I did mention the speciality is Welsh/English/Scottish breakfasts as opposed to continental – so why on earth the title is French, is apologetically beyond me!) not only genuine ‘food for thought’ but also ‘fuel for fire’ when tackling the upper echelons in terms of their ingredients.

    Personally I believe in calling a spade, a spade: so whether what we’re consuming is a local, natural, wild field mushroom as opposed to a flat commercially-grown mushroom produced abroad….surely we should be able to swallow our breakfast with the comforting knowledge of its true provenance…?

    And if you were staying in a 5* establishment, what would you expect for breakfast…?

  7. All the Good Housekeeping version needs is a bag of cubed frozen veg and it would be just perfect!!! Tee Hee! Got naughty head on!

  8. I wish I liked mushrooms but I just don’t. I will eat bits of them when it’s too rude to pick them out but I know they are there and I still don’t like them. It does make the idea of being vegetarian a bit of a lost cause for me as mushrooms and peppers (which I also don’t like) seem to have such a starring role.

  9. If only I knew where I could get hold of some field mushrooms.

  10. Fiona, this is almost how we make mushroom soup in season here; goes back to my childhood when we would go out to the family farm and collect our bucketfuls, and later when H and R were littlies we would do the same! One day, very soon, we may have a chance to take Oscar along! I saute the garlic and onions in butter first, and I don’t scrape the mushrooms, I just give them a gentle scrub with a soft brush. And I make my bread in a breadmaker!

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