Here's a brief post, because it's already late at night here. However, I wouldn't be able to sleep well if I didn't share this recipe with you now. So just to put my jumping sheep-demons to rest, I present you my rather zesty, soul-fulfilling version of Creamed Mushroom Soup.
It's a tad spicy because I'd grounded a handful of peppercorns for the photography part and then without thinking threw the whole lot in the pot! You can, of course, adjust this to your own taste and disposition. Let's not forget that diversity, after all, is what makes the world go round. When it comes to good food, the same passion for it reverberates from Moscow all the way to Johannesburg and through to well, Brunei!
Spicy Mushroom Soup with Toasted Almond Brittle
200g shiitake mushrooms, sliced into chunks
1 ½ litres chicken broth
1 tblspn freshly ground black/white pepper
1 tblspn rosemary
1 tblspn thyme
6 tblspns butter
5 cloves garlic, sliced
2 shallots, diced
1 tblspn chives
4 tablespoons plain flour
250ml heavy cream
Toasted Almond Brittle
1. Bring broth to a boil and add the mushrooms, ground pepper, rosemary and thyme (herbs can be fresh or dried). Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Lower the heat and simmer while you prepare the next step.
Boil 'em Shiitakes!
My ground peppercorn. I did this with a mortar and pestle.
(I could almost hear my mother saying over my shoulder, "God gave you hands, woman. USE them!")
2. In another pan, melt the butter and fry the garlic, shallots and chives for 2 minutes or so before adding the flour. Cook for at least 2 minutes, then pour 5 cups of the hot soup into the roux slowly (it will splash!). Whisk with each addition to avoid lumps, then pour this mixture back into the soup pot. Stir further under medium heat for about 2 minutes.
3. Remove pan from heat and either blend the soup in batches or use a handheld blender directly in the pan, like I did. Blend until you achieve your desired smoothness – I like mine with a bit of texture. Whisk in the heavy cream. Keep soup warm, but do not boil until time to serve. Garnish with toasted almond brittle and serve.
Toasted Almond Brittle
1. Mix the golden syrup, sugar and salt in a small sauté pan and cook syrup until dark golden brown.
2. Remove from the heat as soon as the mixture turns a darker golden brown as it will continue to burn, and stir in the toasted almonds. Transfer quickly to a silpat or non-stick baking paper. Flatten out with fingers or separate into small clusters and allow to cool.
My almond brittle kept disappearing under the soup, I think it was too heavy as a garnish. Next time, I'll try with other nuts and see if they're better at the floating game.