or by season
Simply handling the main ingredients for this soup of wild mushrooms fills me with ecstasy and reminds me always of autumnal walks in beautiful woods in search of them. This soup can be made in two ways, both of which are delicious. I like to serve the version with fresh ceps. (During the rest of the year I make it with ceps I have frozen). The alternative version is even simpler, and (unless you have gathered your own ceps) cheaper.
500g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh ceps, or 500g (1 lb 2 oz) field mushrooms, plus 25g (1 oz) dried porcini Croutons
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp olive oil
1 litre (1 3/4 pints) beef stock
4 tbsp double cream
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices white bread
A nut of butter
500g (1 lb 2 oz) fresh ceps, or 500g (1 lb 2 oz) field mushrooms, plus 25g (1 oz) dried porcini
If you are using fresh ceps, clean them and cut them into pieces. Cook the onion in the oil for 3-4 minutes, then add the ceps and saute them for 6-7 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
If you are not using fresh ceps, soak the dried porcini in lukewarm water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, fry the field mushrooms together with the onion and then add the soaked porcini with their water and stock. Simmer for about half an hour.
To finish either method, take the pan from the heat and blend the contents. Then return the soup to the pan, add the cream, salt and pepper and heat slowly. Remove from the heat before it boils, and serve hot.
To make croutons, simply cut the bread into little cubes and fry in the butter until crisp and golden.