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