Cream of Mushroom or Spinach soup



If you are using small young spinach leaves simply wash and cook them, stalks and all. Thick tough stalks of older spinach should be discarded. There is no need to chop the leaves but choose a pan large enough initially to fit them all in-they will soon decrease in size when cooked.

SERVES 4

- 450 g [1 lb] spinach
- 50 9 [2 oz] butter
- salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 75 ml [3 fI oz] thick cream

For the bechamel sauce:

- 550 inl [1 pt] milk
- half a small carrot
- quarter of a celery stalk
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and white pepper
- pinch of nutmeg or mace
- 25 g [1 oz] butter
- 25 g [1 oz] flour


cream-soups-spinach.jpg" alt="cream of Mushroom or spinach soup" title="cream of Mushroom or spinach soup"> 1 Clean and chop the carrot and celery. Place them in the milk with the bay leaf. Bring slowly to the boil. Remove from heat, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

2 Make a roux with the butter and flour, remove from the heat and stir in the strained re-warmed milk.

3 Return the pan to low heat and bring to the boil, stirring. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg or mace. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

4 Meanwhile, wash the spinach very thoroughly in a sinful of cold, salted water. Drain, shake dry and discard any tough stalks.

5 Melt 25 g [1 oz] of the butter in a large saucepan over low heat.

6 Add the spinach, cover and sweat for about 10 minutes or until soft. Shake the pan or stir frequently so that the spinach cooks evenly and absorbs the butter without burning.

7 Add the spinach to the bechamel sauce and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.

8 Reduce the contents of the pan to a puree using a vegetable mill, sieve or liquidizer.

9 Return the soup to the pan, taste and season lightly with salt and black pepper. Reheat gently.

10 Measure the cream into a small bowl. Spoon in some of the hot soup and stir vigorously to mix thoroughly.

11 Pour the cream and soup mixture back into the hot soup, stirring all the time.

12 Reheat carefully but do not allow to boil. Meanwhile, cut the remaining butter into 5 or 6 pieces.

13 Stir the butter, one piece at a time, into the hot soup to give a final gloss. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Variations

  • This soup can be made with frozen spinach. Use 275 g [10 oz] frozen spinach.

  • For cream of mushroom soup, replace the spinach with 225 g [½ lb] mushrooms. Wipe clean and chop them, reserving a few slices for garnish. Use a vegetable mill for best results.
  • /br>
  • For sorrel and spinach soup, replace half the fresh spinach with sorrel leaves. An all-sorrel soup would be to strongly flavored.
  • /br>
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