Sunday, June 19, 2011

Mushroom soup with chicken - or chicken in mushroom sauce?

Just for a change last week I made a pot of thick mushroom soup, aka stewed mushrooms.

When I was small Mum and Dad used sometime to take us for a "Sunday Drive". We'd pile into the car and Dad would drive somewhere in the country - usually there was a gravel road involved, because he loved driving on them. No matter that it made my brother and me feel sick breathing in the dust in the back seat. When the weather was right there would be farm kids sitting at the side of the road with buckets of mushrooms that had come up overnight in the paddocks. Farm kids were traditionally allowed to pick and sell them for pocket money. You never see kids doing that these days, more's the pity. Possibly modern farming techniques don't encourage the growth of mushrooms.

Anyway, we'd always stop and buy a big bag of mushrooms whenever we saw them, and that night we'd have stewed mushrooms on toast for tea. Those mushrooms were gorgeous. Some of them were the size of a small umbrella, and their gills were as black as black. The stewed mushrooms were also black - like squid ink mixed with a bit of milk.

The days of those black field mushrooms are well gone, and the pathetic things you get in the shops just don't compare. These wee white button things least of all:

However, you work with what you have. Firstly melt some butter in a pot:

Then sautée the sliced mushrooms. I decided I really was making soup, so I quartered about a third of the mushrooms and sautéed those …

… while the rest went in the food processor to get chopped more finely:

They, and some chicken & bacon stock from the freezer …

… went in the pot too …

… along with some thyme from the garden:

Next ingredient was milk, and the soup was left to simmer for a while.

Meanwhile, I got out a chicken thigh from the fridge …

… sliced it …

… and fried it in some butter …

… until it was browned and just cooked:

Next thing I did was thicken the soup with some cornflour (cornstarch), enough to make it quite thick:

Then I had some soup for my dinner, with chicken in the middle:


The only difference between this and stewed mushrooms is the size of the mushroom bits and the amount of liquid. And of course the lack of big black field mushrooms.


  1. Dont care what you call this, a big serving for me please! FedeX it!

  2. Bronwyn,
    I once had a similar dish in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, the home of the American Revolution in an old inn. They served mushrooms like this on toast, but added a bit of sherry to deglaze the mushrooms. It may have had a bit of cream, but the spirits really added a zing and it was great comfort food!

  3. Yes, sherry would be a nice addition. Did you know that at a formal multi-course old-fashioned dinner sherry was/is the "proper" drink to serve with the soup? Stands to reason it would be nice in it too.