Wild mushroom broth with herby ciabatta croutons

    30 min

    Mixtures of fresh wild mushrooms, widely available in supermarkets, are good for making a quick soup that tastes really special. Instead of thickening or puréeing the soup, serving it as a light broth allows the individual flavours of the mushrooms, vegetables and herbs to be fully appreciated.

    1 person made this

    Serves: 6 

    • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small bulb of fennel, finely chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, chopped
    • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) mixed fresh mushrooms, such as chanterelles (girolles), horns of plenty, oysters and chestnuts, roughly chopped
    • 900 ml (1½ pints) boiling water
    • 1 ½ vegetable stock cubes, crumbled, or 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder or paste
    • 8 thin slices ciabatta bread
    • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
    • 2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
    • salt and pepper

    Prep:10min  ›  Cook:20min  ›  Ready in:30min 

    1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and fennel and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until slightly softened. Stir in the garlic and mushrooms. Continue to cook, stirring frequently, for a further 5 minutes. Pour in the boiling water and stir in the stock cubes, powder or paste. Bring back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer the soup, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, preheat the grill. Brush the slices of ciabatta bread lightly on both sides with the remaining 1 tbsp oil and toast them under the grill for about 1 minute on each side or until golden. Cut the bread into cubes and place in a bowl. Add the parsley and mint and toss well.
    3. Taste the soup and add seasoning if necessary. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the parsley and mint croutons and serve at once.

    Some more ideas

    For a rich and creamy version of this soup, thicken with a yolk and cream liaison. Whisk 1 egg yolk with 2 tbsp single cream until lightly mixed. When the soup is cooked and croutons prepared, remove the pan from the heat and stir a ladleful of soup into the liaison. Pour the mixture into the pan and stir over a low heat for about 30 seconds. Do not allow the soup to get too hot and start to simmer or the egg yolk will curdle. Serve at once. * Use 3 diced celery sticks instead of fennel. * Dried wild mushrooms can be used for this soup, although it will take a bit longer to make. Use 1 packet of dried porcini, about 15 g, and 225 g (8 oz) chestnut mushrooms. Soak the porcini in some of the boiling water for 15 minutes and add them to the soup with the water. Cook the chestnut mushrooms in step 1 with the garlic.

    Plus points

    In Asian cultures mushrooms are renowned for their ability to boost the immune system, and the Chinese have put them to medicinal use for over 6000 years. Mushrooms are a useful source of the B vitamins B6, folate and niacin, as well as copper. * Brushing slices of bread with oil and toasting under the grill before cutting them into cubes is a good way to make low-fat, crisp croutons.

    Each serving provides

    Excellent source of copper, vitamin B1. Good source of niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin C. Useful source of folate.

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