07 February 2009

Apple-mushroom-parsnip soup

While it mostly managed to avoid the problem of pure vegetable soups tending to taste somewhere between "wet" and "like the spoon", I think this recipe would benefit from about half a cup of ground hazelnuts or something to give the flavour some bottom.


A 5 litre pot is plenty.

In a litre of boiling water, add a palmful of crushed tarragon (dried, adjust fresh) a scant rubbed palmful of basil (daf), three pinches of salt, a palmful of powdered thyme, and a scant palmful of paprika.

Chop two bunches of green onions up to the branching point of the stems, and add to the boiling water.

Wash and chop three large portobello or portobellini mushrooms into coarse chunks; blender into slurry, adding the minimum water required (consistency of chunky apple sauce); add to the boiling water. (1 pint or so of mushroom slurry.)

Wash and chop three apples into coarse chunks; blender into slurry (1.5 pint or so). Add.

Wash and chop one large sharp white onion into coarse chunks; blender into slurry. (1.5 pint, more or less.)

At this point it's worthwhile to take a silicon scraper and another cup of water to the blender, to scrape or rinse whatever sticky remnants of the mushrooms, apple, and onions are clinging to the sides; evict those from their comfy home in the blender and into the soup pot.

Simmer stock 1 hour.

Add a tall palmful of basil (daf), a palmful of crushed tarragon (daf), and a sifted tablespoon of imperial mustard powder. Add another palmful of powdered thyme. When making this, I added a couple tablespoons of demerara sugar (actually two such goodly lumps as I could conveniently pry up) in the interest of bringing out some of the flavours; because this simmers long enough for the onions to go sweet, I think that was a mistake. Some ground nuts would work better. So would cream if you can have dairy.

Add 2 pints slurried parsnips. (2 big parsnips, washed, peeled, chopped coarsely, blenderized with the least sufficient water.) This will cause the soup to thicken, so stir in water until the soup convects again.

Add 4 large portebello or portobellini mushrooms, chopped into small, comfy-on-a-teaspoon, pieces. Add the rind of one large carrot, washed and peeled, that has been shaved off with the peeler into strips. If you want the carrot strips to present as intact orange noodle things, don't add the carrot strips until some time less than one half hour before serving; after an hour or so of simmering the carrot strips disintegrate.

Stir in 1/4 cup olive oil and some extra water as required to keep the simmer generalized.

Simmer until ready to serve; not less than 1 hour. As the soup simmers, you may wish to add the odd cupful of water. By two hours the onion has all converted and the soup is fairly sweet.

Serve with rice or some other source of starch; serving over rice results in a sort of glutinous mushroom porridge.

Pray it doesn't taste like the spoon.

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