Nothing better than hot soup on a chilly night

Brothy Chicken & Mushroom Soup
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THIS month The South African Mushroom Farmers’ Association has shared some super duper soup recipes, just the ticket for cold days and nights. Tune in again next week for three bread recipes that you can make as a side dish for your soup, as a starter, or simply on their own. For more information, click here.

BROTHY CHICKEN & MUSHROOM SOUP

Serves 6-8

Ingredients

Broth base:

  • 6 free range chicken thighs, skin on & bone in
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed 
  • ± 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ± 3 bay leaves
  • 4 large portabello mushroom steaks, roughly torn into chunks (or 6-8 large brown mushrooms) 
  • 2 carrots, roughly diced
  • 2 onions, skin on, quartered 
  • 2 stalks celery, leaves included,  roughly diced
  • Handful fresh parsley 
  • ± 3l chicken / vegetable stock 

To finish the soup:

  • 1 large carrot, very thinly sliced
  • 1 stalk celery, very thinly sliced 
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced 
  • 250g white button mushrooms, sliced 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Fresh dill fronds, to finish

Method

  • Place chicken thighs in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. 
  • Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaves, mushrooms, carrots, onions, celery and parsley. 
  • Cover with enough chicken or vegetable stock. You can also use water. 
  • Bring to a gentle simmer. 
  • Cook until the chicken is very tender and pulls away from the bone. About 1 hour. 
  • Remove the chicken thighs. 
  • Discard the skin and bones. Shred the chicken and set aside. 
  • Continue to simmer the soup for another 30 min – 1 hour until the soup is concentrated in flavour and very tasty. 
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard all the aromatics. 
  • Return broth to the stove. Taste to adjust seasoning. If you started with water you will need a good amount of salt and pepper. 

To finish the soup:

  • Add the finely sliced carrot, celery and spring onions. Simmer until tender. 
  • Add the white button mushrooms and simmer until just cooked through. 
  • Return the shredded chicken to the pot. 
  • Stir everything together. 
  • Ladle the soup into bowls and finish with plenty of fresh dill fronds. 
  • Serve with toasted slices of seed loaf and enjoy.

MUSHROOM & BARLEY SOUP

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 500g mixed cultivated mushrooms, sliced (big browns, portabellos, portabellinis, buttons, baby buttons etc)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 celery stalks, finely sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 2 litres / 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 x 400g tin diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 4 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil, for cooking
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Method

  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or soup pot. 
  • Add the mushrooms and thyme, and cook until golden brown. 
  • Transfer the mushrooms to a rack lined baking tray. 
  • Add a fresh drizzle of olive oil and the celery, garlic, onion and carrot.
  • Cook until softened and very lightly caramelised.
  • Sprinkle the flour all over the vegetables and cook for 2 minutes. 
  • Pour in the stock, tinned tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Make sure to scrape any stuck bits of flour off the bottom of the pot. 
  • Add the barley and ¾ of the sautéed mushrooms. 
  • Bring to a simmer and cook until the barley is tender- about 40 minutes.
  • Stir in the parsley and vinegar. 
  • Season well with salt and pepper. 
  • Divide between bowls and garnish with the remaining sautéed mushrooms and an extra sprinkle of chopped parsley. 
  • Serve with chunky toasted slices of ciabatta. 

If you have leftovers – the barley will continue to absorb the liquid of the soup overnight. So the next day just add a little more stock before reheating. 

VEGAN CREAMY CASHEW NUT MUSHROOM SOUP

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 650g mixed cultivated mushrooms (big browns, portabellos, portabellinis, buttons etc) 
  • 1 large onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp sherry vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp white miso paste
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, minced 
  • 1 litre / 4 cups vegetable or mushroom stock
  • ½ cup / 80g raw cashew nuts
  • Crispy sage leaves: 
  • 1 handful fresh sage leaves 
  • ¼ cup olive oil 
  • Olive oil, for cooking 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 

Method

  • Roughly chop the different mushrooms. 
  • Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large Dutch oven or pot. 
  • Add mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until mushrooms are golden brown and their moisture has evaporated.
  • Scoop out a few golden brown mushrooms for topping the soup when serving. Set aside. 
  • Add onion and cook until softened. 
  • Add garlic and cook until fragrant. 
  • Add vinegar and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Pour in the stock, and bring to a gentle simmer. 
  • Stir in the miso paste and season with salt and pepper.
  • Simmer for 5 minutes for all the flavours to come together. 
  • Place cashew nuts in the jug of a blender. 
  • Scoop out half of the soup and add it to the blender. 
  • Begin blending on very low speed and work up to high until the soup is completely smooth. 
  • (Be careful when blending hot liquids – make sure you allow the steam to escape out the top of the jug)
  • Return the blended soup to the pot, and stir to combine. 
  • Taste to adjust seasoning. 
  • Just before serving make some crispy sage leaves. 
  • Place the ¼ cup olive oil in a small saucepan. 
  • Heat until a test leaf sizzles immediately in the oil. 
  • Fry a few sage leaves at a time until crisp, ± 10 seconds. 
  • Transfer quickly with a fork, before they brown, to a tray lined with paper towel.
  • Sprinkle generously with salt.
  • Serve the soup scattered with a few reserved mushrooms, crispy sage leaves and a fresh crack of black pepper.
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