Wild Mushroom Soup
25g/1 oz/½ cup dried porcini mushrooms
15ml/1 tbp olive oil
2 leeks, thinly sliced
2 shallots, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
225g/8 oz/3 cups fresh wild mushrooms
1.2 lts/2 pints/5 cups beef stock
2.5ml/½ tsp dried thyme
30m/2 tbsp single cream
salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh thyme sprigs, to garnish
Put the dried porcini in a bowl, add 250ml/8fl oz/1 cup warm water and leave to soak for 20-30 mins. Lift out of the liquid and squeeze over the bowl to remove as much of the soaking liquid as possible. Strain all the liquid and reserve to use later. Finely chop the porcini and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the leeks, shallots and garlic and cook gently for about 5 mins, stirring the mixture frequently, until softened but not coloured.
Chop or slice the fresh mushrooms and add to the pan. Stir over a medium heat for a few minutes until they begin to soften. Pour in the beef stock and bring to the boil. Add the chopped porcini, reserved soaking liquid, dried thyme and salt and pepper. Reduce the heat, half cover the pan and simmer gently for 30 mins, stirring occasionally.
Pour about three quarters of the soup into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the soup remaining in the pan, stir in the cream and heat through gently. Check the consistency and add more stock if the soup is too thick. Adjust the seasoning. Serve hot in soup bowls, garnished with fresh thyme sprigs.