Life’s a Feast: Smoky mushroom soup


Creating soup is a kind of alchemy – turning water into tasty broths and bland into savoury. At every step of this transformation, you need to add a new layer of flavour to achieve the most delicious results. The recipe below is a twist on an autumnal favourite – mushroom soup. Layered with flavours, this soup is defined by hints of smoky paprika and chilli, which will quite simply keep you wanting more and more. This is a deeply flavourful, rich and utterly more-ish dish the whole family can enjoy!



1 kg mushrooms (I use button), sliced
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 tablespoons smoked paprika
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1/4 cup brandy (or cognac)
3 cups vege or chicken stock
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice


1 loaf fresh ciabatta
2 mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
Small handful of flat leaf parsley, thinly-sliced


  1. Melt butter in a large pot to a medium heat. Add onion, garlic and smoked paprika and stir for 4-5 minutes until the onions are softened but not browned.
  2. Turn up heat and add thyme. Cook for 1 min, stirring, then pour in brandy to de-glaze pan. Cook for a further minute until the liquid has nearly all evaporated.
  3. Add sliced mushrooms and cook for 6-7 mins until softened and just starting to brown. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly for 3 mins.
  4. Remove from heat and pour in half stock and stir quickly to ensure you don’t get any lumps (if it does get a few lumps, whisk them out). Pop back on the heat and pour in rest of the stock and thoroughly combine.
  5. Bring back to the boil then reduce to a simmer for 10-12 mins, stirring occasionally.
  6. Meanwhile take your two mushrooms for the garnish and slice into matchstick-sized pieces (julienned). Heat a pan with butter to a medium heat and add the mushrooms and saute for 2-3 mins, until golden brown. Take out and pop on to a paper towel to drain.
  7. Remove soup from the heat and, with a stick blender, blend until smooth.
  8. Add sour cream and lemon, taste, and season with salt and pepper. Warm again but not simmer and divide evenly across five or six bowls. Put browned mushroom pieces in the middle of each bowl and sprinkle parsley on top.
  9. Serve immediately with warmed bread and butter.