The Weird Sisters’ Toadstool Soup

Meal type Cumin, Mushrooms
Season Fall, Winter


1 Gather 1 1/2 - 2 pounds of fresh mushrooms (I like crimini for this, or any other hearty, woodsy-tasting fungus)

2 Pull 8 - 12 scallions (use as much of the green as possible)
3 If you have fresh morels, porcini and/or hen-of-the-woods to hand, use them, by all means. If not, in a bowl (or hollowed-out half-skull) reconstitute a cup or more dried mushrooms using just-off-the-boil water and a half cup of white wine. Let them reconstitute quietly whilst you prepare the rest of the soup.
4 If you use fresh morels, porcini and/or hen-of-the-woods, leave them whole or slice them so they're recognizable and sauté them in a bit of olive oil (or butter), separately from the mainstay of the soup. Set them aside.

5 Wash and chop the crimini mushrooms and the scallions.

6 Heat 4 - 8 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy cauldron (or soup pot).
Sauté the scallions in the cauldron until soft (5 minutes, covered).
Add the mushrooms and cook for 7 - 9 minutes, or until they are weeping copiously. 
Mix together:
4 - 8 tablespoons of flour
2 - 4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt (more to taste)
a good, sound grounding of fresh black pepper

7 Add the flour mixture to the mushrooms and mix well. 
Cook on medium heat for 3 - 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Slowly add 
3 - 4 cups of milk, scalded (I use skim) - less for thicker soup, more for thinner soup, etc. 
1 - 2 cups of dry white wine - less for thicker soup, more for thinner soup, etc. 
Bring to a boil, then turn down the soup and cook for 10 - 13 minutes, stirring often. The soup will thicken. 

8 Adjust the seasonings.

9 Using a stick blender or blender/food processor, blend the soup to a consistency that pleases. I like mine a little lumpy. 
Add the morels, porcini and/or hen-of-the-woods after the soup is blended. (If you have reconstituted the mushrooms, save the liquid and use it in a stock. It freezes beautifully and tastes grand.) 

10 Serve with courageous bread and fresh figs, cut in half and caramelized cut-side-down on a grill or cast iron skillet.