The very first time I tried mushroom soup it came from a tin, and unsurprisingly, it was repulsive. I couldn't fathom why people would want to eat this stuff, but despite my unequivocal feelings on the matter, the tinned soup aisle was full of this stuff! Inconceivable.
Flash-forward three years later, late September 2013. I was back in London for the weekend; just before I had to catch my train, the Cookie Monster took me to lunch at this lovely pub. The soup of the day was mushroom, and that was pretty much the only vegetarian option. I asked the question I have asked a hundred times since I went vegan: 'Is there any dairy or egg in the soup?'
And then came the answer I always yearn for but so rarely get: 'Nope, no dairy, no eggs.'
My eyes went KA-TCHING and I asked for the soup pronto, only barely conscious that it was mushroom soup and my only encounter with mushroom soup had been a total disaster. But the soup came, served with crunchy, toasted, un-buttered sourdough bread, I spooned it into my mouth and -
It was the best damn soup I'd ever had.
Fresh, homemade soup is always a winner, especially when it's at a local pub. But you know what's even better? If you throw some black beans in there for added protein and texture. Now this is the best damn soup you've ever had.
1/2 cube vegetable stock, preferably organic
1x tin 400g (14 oz)organic black beans
300g (10.5 oz) mixed white cap and chestnut mushrooms, also preferably organic
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
400ml (1 + 2/3 cup) hot water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and minced
1 tsp dried thyme
4 slices of sourdough bread, to serve
vegan butter, to serve
Heat the olive oil in a medium-sized pot. Fry the garlic and onions until they have become translucid, for about five minutes on moderately high heat.
Add the dried thyme and mushrooms. Sweat for another five minutes, until they are more or less evenly browned. Pour over the boiled water, drop in the stock cube and beans, and gently simmer for 20 minutes, until the mushrooms have gone soft.
Transfer the cooked vegetables and liquid to a blender; pulse till liquid but still 'grainy.' (You can also do this with a hand-held blender.)
Serve steaming hot with a couple of slices of freshly toasted sourdough bread and a generous slab of vegan butter.
Which meal do you absolutely love now but used to hate?