Mushroom soup with watercress

Soups are just the thing to warm up a cold evening.  Don’t feel you have to add cream to this gorgeous recipe but who out there doesn’t love that old 1980s cream of mushroom soup? Hello nostalgia.


Serves: 5 to 6

500g mushrooms – plain, button, chestnut, shiitake, king oysters or a mixture of all of these. You can also use a handful of dried porcini mushrooms too; they’ll pack a punch with that shroomy flavour.
50g butter
1 packet of leeks (about 350g) sliced
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 thyme sprigs
Zest of 1 lemon
40g flour
450ml really good veggie stock
250ml cream, or scrap this and serve with yoghurt
A big handful of watercress
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a paper towel.  Coarsely chop them up (you are going to blend this soup so no need to be particular with size).
2. In a medium-sized pot, fry the leeks in the butter until they are just soft.  Add the garlic, mushrooms and some black pepper, thyme and lemon zest, then fry for another minute or two.
3. Add the flour and cook for a minute, then slowly add the stock stirring all the time. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
4. Now it’s time to blend your soup. Here’s where a hand blender comes to your aid.
5. Once blended, keep on the stove and add the cream, watercress and season with salt and pepper.  Heat it through but don’t boil.

Serve with crusty bread oozing with butter. This should warm you up nicely.

Beautiful photographs taken by Toby Murphy.