Creamy Mushroom Soup

If my high school Economics teacher remembers me at all, I think he’d be proud that I’m consciously putting some economics theory into practice. Namely FIFO, or the practice of First-In-First-Out.

I’m trying to get into the habit of clearing out the fridge once a week, and I’m instigating a FIFE program. Or the practice of First-In-First-Eat – the older stuff to be eaten first before we buy fresh ones. It’s a bit of scary task because sometimes I really don’t want to know what mouldy/slimey/shriveled vegetable or fruit is lurking in the back of my fridge. Because if – ok, when I do find something, I feel bad having to throw it out (even if it does go to our pet worms), or worse, trying to find something useful to do with it. Like cooking it.

I knew my program wasn’t working too well when Daddyken came home from the shops with a lovely bag of plump, white button mushrooms (which I put on the shopping list). And I’d just found a bag of half shriveled brown ones (they used to be plump and white) crammed in the back corner of the fridge from 2 weeks ago.

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But you know sometimes when things just align and come together right before your eyes when you least expect it? Well, today was one of my alignment days. Daddyken asked me what I wanted to do with the 2 leeks that a neighbour had given him a few days before, at the precise moment that I found half a bottle of cream that was nearing its use-by date. Mushrooms. Leeks. Cream. Just like that Ebony and Ivory song, but with mushrooms, leeks and cream.

This is a mushroom soup recipe based on one that Daddyken’s aunt gave me a few years ago, but I never got around to making it because I’ve never accidentally had mushrooms, leeks and cream in the one place, at the same time, begging to be used. And I’m cooking another yummy non-protein meal. Destiny was never so obvious as today.

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Gluten free

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients

  • 60 g butter
  • 1 – 2 leeks, white part only, chopped
  • 250 g mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons chopped chives
  • 3 – 4 slices sourdough bread (optional)

Let’s Cook!

  • Melt butter in a pot on medium-high heat
  • Add leeks and cook until soft
  • Add mushrooms, chicken stock, wine and Dijon mustard
  • Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Add cream and take off the heat
  • Puree with a stick blender
  • Stir in chives and serve with sourdough bread

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Notes:

  • I used 2 leeks because the ones we had were half the size of the regular ones I buy from the shops, and I also needed to use them up : )

Cauliflower and Mushroom Soup

I suck at doing vegetables. I really do. Salads? No balance and drenched in dressing. Stir fries? Never enough ‘wok breath’. So I just alternate between vegie sticks and steamed broccoli every night.

And I’m not saying it just to garner protestations in favour of my culinary genius with non-proteins. Because seriously, there’d be a long uncomfortable silence from everyone.

Except maybe my family. With my family, honesty is generously doled out like the continuous stream of water that gushes out when there’s a massive hole in the water pipe out in the street. Daddyken might say something supportive like Oh but you steam your vegies perfectly most times or You chop your fresh vegies really well. But I don’t make him in trouble for being such a smart ass, because firstly, he’s right, and secondly, it gives me a chance to remind him of his repertoire of culinary disasters.

I’m more comfortable cooking and eating meat, because that’s what I grew up with. In the olden times, meat was expensive, so the Chinese believed that having lots of protein to eat meant that your family was prosperous and doing well. So vegetables are really just an aside.

Notice how Peking duck pancakes only come with a sliver of cucumber and a shallot? I think the vegies are mostly for colour, because if you took the vegies out, duck skin, duck meat, hoisin sauce and a little floury pancake would still taste amazing. So the odds were cumulatively stacking up against me and vegies anyway.

However, things on the green front are now looking a little more promising. Since Soccer Boy started school, I’ve been working from home 1 – 2 days a week and found that I needed a lunch that had flavour, was easy to eat and not messy (oily touch pads on laptops make life hard). Also, I didn’t want anything heavy as I was pretty much sitting down for 4 hours straight (the toilets are a lot closer at home than they are in the office, so it almost doesn’t feel like I’ve actually moved at all).

That’s why I love this Cauliflower and Mushroom soup. Even though it’s light, I’m not faint from hunger an hour later, and it can be made in advance and frozen until needed. I also get a little buzz from the fact that I’m cooking with vegetables – and it’s absolutely delicious!

Cauli Mush Soup

Cauliflower and Mushroom Soup

Serves 3 – 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, chopped into 1/2 cm rounds
  • 500g button mushrooms
  • 1 medium cauliflower
  • 3 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard (or to taste)
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, finely chopped
  • Sour cream (optional)
  • 3 – 4 slices sourdough (optional)

Cook:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C
  • Coarsely chop mushrooms and cauliflower and put on separate trays lined with foil
  • Sprinkle 1 ½ teaspoons curry powder and 1 tablespoon olive oil over each tray
  • Bake for 25 minutes
  • Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat
  • Add leeks and cook until softened
  • Add mushrooms, cauliflower, Dijon mustard and stock to the pot
  • Cook until it comes to a boil
  • Add cream and take off the heat
  • Season to taste
  • Puree with a stick blender
  • Serve with sour cream, parsley and toasted sour dough bread

Notes:

  • Don’t worry if you don’t have the patience to puree all the vegies – the little chunks give it texture.
  • You can omit the cream if you prefer – the original recipe didn’t ask for it : )
  • I like my soups thick, but if you prefer yours runnier, just add more stock.
  • Fried, crumbled prosciutto on top makes it extra yummy… but heavier!