Sunday Night Portobello Mushroom Soup with Gruyere & Onion Jam Toasties

 Well here is my latest post - originally intended to be some glorious celebratory feast of a recipe, and yet after a week of work and busy-ness behind me, all I could think of today is this soup. It is the antidote to frazzled nerves (actually it probably is with mushrooms' purported anti-inflammatory properties, and loads of lovely vitamin B and D) and just what I feel like tucking into. The soup comprises Portobello or Swiss Brown mushrooms, good quality chicken stock, lots of pungent garlic, thyme, some fresh cream and a wee bit of sherry to give it that extra little somethn' somethn'. Did I mention the fabulousness of the Gruyere and Onion Jam pan-toastie (sweet onions, melty cheese, toasty bread)....yep, happy days in my favourite snuggy jumper and with a lovely glass of red!

50g butter
1 red onion, peeled and toughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 big fat garlic cloves, crushed
600g Portobello mushrooms (or a mix of your favourites), sliced
5 sprigs thyme + 1 sprig lemon thyme (optional)
2 bay leaves
5 cups good quality chicken stock (homemade if you have it)
1/2 cup cream plus 3 tbsp extra
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tbsp sherry
4 small brown mushrooms extra, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup micro-greens (mine were micro-purples!)

8 slices good quality wholegrain bread
150g Gruyere cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups caramelised onions / Onion jam
3 tbsp butter

Heat the butter in a large heavy-based saucepan and cook onions with sea salt and pepper over a medium/gentle heat for 10 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, mushrooms, thyme and bay leaves. Cook for a further 15 minutes over a medium heat, stirring every few minutes until mushrooms are pretty well cooked. Add stock, bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for half an hour. Add cream, milk and sherry and cook a further 2 minutes. Take off the heat, remove thyme stalks (the leaves will have all dropped off) and bay leaves. transfer to a food processor and whiz until combined. When ready to serve taste for seasoning, then in a small fry pan cook extra small mushrooms in olive oil over a medium heat for about 3-4 minutes or until almost crispy. Drizzle with a little extra cream, garnish with mushrooms and optional micro greens and serve with Gruyere and caramelised onion toasties. Serves 4

While soup is heating heat too large fry pans. Butter bread and put 4 slices in (2 in each pan), buttered-side down. Top with evenly divided caramelised onions and Gruyere cheese, and finally the extra bread slices, butter-side up. When toasties are golden on the bottom, carefully flip and cook the other side - about 5-6 minutes all up. Deliciousness.

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