There’s no need to bring a bottle when Andrew and Rozy Gunn of Iona Vineyards (iona.co.za) invite you over for a meal
For the soup:
- 100g butter
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 30ml celery, finely chopped
- 600g mixed mushrooms, chopped
- 20g dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in a little white wine and finely chopped
- salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 60ml dry white wine
- 1 litre home-made chicken stock
- a bouquet garni with parsley, a bay leaf, a few sprigs thyme, 2 strips lemon zest, all tied together with string
- nutmeg, freshly grated
For the herb cream:
- 1 bunch chives
- 2 cups flat-leafed parsley leaves, washed
- 4 large mint leaves
- 3 egg yolks
- 150ml crème fraîche
- 200ml thick cream, whipped to a soft peak
- salt and black pepper, to taste
1. To make the soup: melt the butter in a large saucepan and sweat the onions, garlic and celery for about 5 minutes. Add the fresh and rehydrated dried mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and sweat for another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Add the wine to the pan, letting it bubble and steam for a minute or two. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the bouquet garni and simmer gently for 20 minutes. Check the seasoning, adding a few gratings of nutmeg to taste.
3. Remove the bouquet garni. Liquidise half the soup in a blender and return to the rest of the soup; this creates a creamier texture.
4. To make the fresh herb cream: plunge the herbs into boiling water and cook for 3 minutes. Then drain and chop them finely. Beat the egg yolks well and add the crème fraîche and the cream. Stir in the herbs and adjust the seasoning.
5. To assemble the dish: preheat the grill to the maximum temperature. Reheat the soup and ladle into small heated bowls. Divide the fresh herb cream equally on top of each soup bowl and immediately place under the grill (about 10cm below the heat source). Keep an eye on them; they should be set and warm and look slightly golden with a delicate crust. This only takes a minute or two. Serve immediately accompanied by freshly-baked bread.
Cook’s note: You can prepare the mushroom soup the day before your luncheon and the fresh herb cream just before serving. To make it easier to get the bowls in and out of the oven, put them all on a baking tray.
This recipe serves 6 – 8.