Monday, February 28, 2005


This soup is a brown puree resembling something small singing children would be fed in a Dickensian workhouse. Luckily, it tastes pretty good. I’m not sure where the recipe came from; I’d made it once before, maybe a year ago, and apparently deemed it good enough to keep, but then not tried it again since. So last week I decided to test it to see if I still liked it. And…yes, I do. I had been worried it would be too bland, and it was not. A, in fact (who fears blandness above all else) particularly enjoyed it. I didn’t passionately love it, but it tasted good (with nice green salad on the side), was easy to make, is different from any other recipe I have, and it’s nice to have a soup recipe on hand that doesn’t require broth. I think the only change I would have made would be to go for a little more mushroom flavor (12 ounces, maybe?) and a smidgen less potato. And I didn’t have any parsley to put on top, which would have reduced the gruel-like appearance. Anyway, if you’re a cream of mushroom soup fan, this is a way to get a similar taste without using any cream.

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large scallions, white parts only, chopped
10 ounces firm mushrooms, such as white button, Portobello, or cremini, thinly sliced
1 pound red potatoes, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
1 teaspoon paprika
salt and pepper to taste
minced fresh parsley

1. Heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the scallions and sauté, stirring often, until they have softened. (The recipe crazily says, “About 7 minutes,” but mine had already softened and started to turn brown [oops] after just a minute or so. Was I supposed to turn the heat down? Should I have cut bigger onion pieces?) Add the mushrooms and sauté until they soften and begin to give up their liquid. (Again, the recipe says “about 7 minutes.”)

2. When the mushrooms are softened and juicy, add the potatoes and dill to the pot and stir well. Added enough water (maybe 2 cups?) to cover the contents of the pot, stir again, and—well, here the recipe mysteriously said to “raise heat to medium,” but hadn’t the stove been on medium the whole time? There’s nowhere where it said to turn it down… Either I copied it down wrong, or this recipe author is messing with my head. Since the recipe says the soup should be “brought to a gentle simmer,” I took a chance and raised the heat to medium-high. Anyway, when the soup simmers, put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer until the potatoes are soft, “about 15 minutes.”

3. When the potatoes are soft, puree the soup in the blender (I had to do it in two batches) until it's thick, smooth, and creamy. Return it to the pot, turn the stove heat to low, season with salt, pepper, and paprika, sprinkle with fresh parsley, and serve. Then practice saying “Please, sir, can I have some more?” in your best British accent.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

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