I decided to re-visit this recipe, not just for photography purposes but also to give the original a bit of a tweak. I love the flavours of walnuts and mushrooms together, and suspected that using a walnut cream would take the recipe up a notch. I focused on locally sourced shiitake and oyster mushrooms from Maritime Gourmet, paired with a decent amount of crimini mushrooms to balance out the flavour – and bring the cost down a bit. I adore gourmet mushrooms, but they do add up. This way I was able to feature the beautiful flavours while also keeping myself within budget. I sourced some beautiful fresh herbs from Four Season’s Farm and was thrilled with the lovely flavour they brought to the soup. You are welcome to substitute for dried if you don’t have fresh on hand, but the fresh herbs really are special.
I like Simon and Garfunkel, although their music has a melancholy note to it that always leaves me a bit sad. I listened to Scarborough Fair, feeling it was only fitting as it served as the inspiration for this dish, before switching to the more uplifting strains of Great Big Sea. Music never ceases to amaze me, in its power to shift my mood and bring me right back to a specific moment in time.
I love pairing this soup with Sauteed Chanterelles with Garlic on crackers, it makes for a thoroughly satisfying fall meal. And if you don’t do nuts, this soup is also lovely with I can of coconut milk instead.
Scarborough Fair Mushroom Soup
2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
1 cup finely diced shallots
Pinch sea salt
4 cloves garlic, crushed
6 cups mixed mushrooms (I used 4 cups crimini, 1 cup shiitake, and 1 cup oyster mushrooms)
2 tsp smoked (or regular) sea salt
3 cups Basic Vegetable Broth
1 tsp Harmonic Arts 5 Mushroom Powder (optional)
¾ cups walnuts, soaked 3-4 hours or overnight
¾ cup water
2 Tbsp fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried)
2 Tbsp fresh sage (or 2 tsp dried)
Salt and pepper to taste
Warm olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and a pinch of sea salt and sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add crushed garlic, and stir until fragrant, about a minute more. Add a splash of water and stir to to deglaze the pot before adding the mixed mushrooms and smoked sea salt. Sauté the mixture until mushrooms are soft. Add 3 cups veg broth, bring the mixture to a boil and then lower heat to simmer for 10 minutes. While the soup is simmering, combine the soaked walnuts and ¾ cup water in a high speed blender. Combine the soup and fresh herbs with the walnut cream in your blender and process until smooth. This recipe fits comfortably in my vitamix and it works well as the lid has its own vent. If your blender doesn’t I would suggest that you purée the soup in batches, to avoid a cream of mushroom soup explosion in your kitchen! An immersion blender would work well too, although I prefer the uniform texture blending the soup in a blender brings. That being said, there is nothing wrong with a chunky texture for this soup! Taste and adjust seasoning, as needed, before serving topped with fresh cracked pepper and fresh leftover herbs of your choice.