On the first week of Christmas, Meeta made for me - a Porcini cream soup!
Exactly four weeks to go till Christmas. Are you ready?
Well I thought every week till Christmas, I would premier a recipe as a Christmas meal idea. Not necessarily traditional, but something that I hope will delight you into giving something new and different a go this year.
Today I present a wonderful, light, creamy and most important, easy to prepare soup as a starter. I picked up a lovely old magazine from a friend's place and while browsing through it I found this wonderful recipe.
Porcini in Italian, Boletus Edulis in Latin, Steinpilze in German and Cèpe in French, these are truly one of God's many gifts to us. It is a meaty, rich and strong mushroom, however delicate and versatile to give any dish from a stew/soup to a thick steak the perfect flavor.
These mushrooms are so perfect that they even look just like mushrooms do in fairy tales. They are widely available in markets around the world either fresh or dried.
When buying fresh porcini make sure they have velvety white stalks and firm brown caps. They should not be broken or nipped. A yellowish-brown color under the caps indicate that they might be a bit over-ripe and black spots on top or a deep green color under the caps show that they have arrived. Older and not perfectly fresh porcini might even have worms in them, so make sure you look out for those.
Never wash these in water when not absolutely necessary. Instead use a damp paper towel and rub off any dirt you see.
Dried Porcini have a strong mushroomy aroma and work magic when making sauces or soups. In risottos these mushrooms add the finest flavor I have ever tasted. When buying dried porcini make sure they are not crumbly as this would indicate that they are rather old. Your best bet would be to buy them in jars. If you can open the jar before purchasing and take a sniff. You should get a deep and rich woody, mushroomy aroma. If there is nothing, then they will taste like nothing too.
Dried porcini are soaked in hot water for about 20-30 minutes until they have expanded. Reserving the liquid drain them well. Now you can use these for several different dishes.
So, an elegant soup as a starter to a wonderful meal, made of these luxurious mushrooms is a promising way to kick off your evening. Your guests will be left licking their spoons and you'll be chuckling thinking "That was an easy one!"
Music while cooking:
Chris Cornell - You know my name
Casino Royale Soundtrack - If you have not seen this movie yet then leave everything standing right now and go to the movies. Brilliant Bond film and a sexy Daniel Craig make an explosive combination.
Music and Artwork courtesy iTunes
20g dried Porcini
1 large onion - finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
1/8 l white wine
250 g cream
40 g Parmesan - grated
Handful of chives - chopped
Salt and pepper
In approx. 3/4 l of hot water, soak the dried Porcini for 30 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.
Melt the butter in a large pot and sauté the onions. Sprinkle the flour over the onions and cook for a few minutes. Pour in the wine, cream and the Porcini liquid, while constantly stirring, to avoid any lumps. Add the mushrooms, bring to a boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Take most of the mushrooms out of the soup and with an electric beater or mixer, whisk the soup until smooth and creamy. Put the Porcini mushrooms back into the soup. Salt and pepper to taste
Pour into warm soup plates and sprinkle with Parmesan and chives.
Instead of pouring all the cream into the soup reserve half of it. Whisk until thick and gently fold the beaten cream into the soup. This makes the consistence of the soup fluffy and light.
Easy wasn't it? That is why it is perfect as a starter for any festive occasion. It is a creamy and aromatic soup. The mushrooms stand out and with the Parmesan it becomes a elegant and fine tasting dish. Here the flavors linger on the tongue long enough for your guests to come to the realization that THIS was just the beginning of a great meal to come.
Perfect idea for Sara's great theme for Weekend Cookbook Challenge - Party Food.
photography, nikon, nikon d70s, photo, porcini, foodblog, food, mushroom, soup, Parmesan, cream soup, Christmas, starter, Weekend Cookbook Challenge,
Casino Royale, iTunes, Chris Cornell