I’m fed up with the cold weather. We have had gales and blizzards and all manner of nasty weather this past week. There have been nights when I was afraid the whole roof would blow off and days when bringing in the logs from the woodshed was like running through a firing squad of tiny bullets from the hailstones shooting at you from all angles at almost 100 mph. It hasn’t been much fun up here on Waltons Mountain, but hey ho that’s January for you!
The weather certainly isn’t conducive to running about outside and doing any major exercise. When I think back to a few years ago when I was running and would actually jog about in the snow, my God how enthusiastic (mad) was I? I just don’t have it in me to do that nowadays and I don’t think I could even if I wanted to.
This is hole up in the house weather. Huddle by the fire and keep warm with your hands wrapped cosily round a big mug of hot comforting soup. When it comes to comfort food one of my flash back memories is always to hot mugs of tomato soup when the weather was chilly of life just crap. Tomato soup just ticks those feel good boxes, but the tinned variety isn’t very good for you and even though I do make a few different types of tomato soup myself I thought this time I would throw caution to the wind and add something different to the pot – mushrooms. Yes this is mushroom and tomato soup.
I’ve used dried mixed mushrooms for my mushroom and tomato soup. The mushrooms have a richness and meatiness all their own, they make anything into a more substantial effort and mixing them into a tomato soup gives it a whole new dimension of texture and taste.
As the mushrooms themselves have a strong flavour I like to use some robust herbs to compliment them and help them dance nicely with the tomatoes and not overwhelm them completely. Using rosemary, thyme and oregano brings these two flavours together beautifully and give a real depth and character to this soup.
There is another ingredient that adds to the flavourfest here – Italian vermouth, just a small glass, it really makes things sparkle taste wise. If you want to kep the calories down just serve the soup as it is, but for a real treat add a swirl of olive oil to your bowl and a little sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese.
You don’t have to wait ages for this soup to come together, it is ready to eat well within an hour and you can curl up by the fire with your favourite bowl or mug, grab a good book or switch on a movie and forget the chill of January.
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 celery stick
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ½ red bell pepper chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 30g/1oz dried mushrooms (rehydrated by soaking for 20 mins in hot water)
- 1 small glass vermouth
- 400g/14oz tinned tomatoes
- salt and pepper to taste
- Saute the onion, celery and red pepper in the olive oil in a saucepan for 5 minutes until tender but not browned.
- Add the garlic and herbs and cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Drain the mushrooms (reserving the liquid) and add to the pan, cooking for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the mushroom liquid and vermouth and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and 500ml of water and simmer for another 20 minutes.
- Serve sprinkled with olive oil and parmesan cheese and with crusty bread for real comfort.