Seasonal local food recipe No.130: Parsley and potato soup with garlic mushrooms

Definitely no apologies for yet another soup recipe – it is that time of year after all.

This one from Nigel Slater uses the potatoes, garlic and  parsley in Camel CSA’s weekly veg boxes. The addition of chestnut mushrooms, fried in a little butter then tossed in garlic and parsley, makes it a winner.

Slater suggests in his Observer column having this soup alongside a crisp winter salad dressed with gherkins and mustard. I’m with him all the way.

Delicious with some real bread from St Kew Harvest Farm Shop.

Serves: 4

Preparation: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

For the soup:
750g floury potatoes
2 cloves of garlic
a large rib of celery
2 bay leaves
8 stems of flat-leaf or curled parsley

For the mushrooms:
150g small, chestnut mushrooms
2 tbsp butter
2 cloves of garlic
2 or 3 bushy sprigs of parsley

Peel the potatoes, dice them, then put them into a saucepan. Peel and chop the garlic, roughly chop the celery, then add them to the potatoes and pour in enough water to cover. Drop in the bay leaves. Remove the parsley leaves and set aside.

Add the stalks to the pan with half a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil, then turn down to a lively simmer and cook for 15 or 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft and on the verge of collapse.

Chop the parsley leaves. Pour the potatoes and their cooking water into a blender or food processor, add the parsley leaves and blitz till smooth. Take care not to over-blend as it can send the mixture gluey – do it in short bursts. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as you think fit.

Cut the mushrooms into thick slices, melt the butter in a shallow pan, add the peeled and crushed garlic, then the mushrooms and cook them till nicely coloured and sizzling. Season. Chop the parsley leaves and stir into the mushrooms.

Warm the soup thoroughly – until piping hot – then ladle into four bowls. Divide the mushrooms between the bowls and serve.

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