Mushrooms usually pop up a day or two after the rains in autumn and it’s time to go foraging in our favourite spots. Delicious on their own with a little butter and garlic, they also pack an earthy punch to winter soups like this. My friend Will Bignell grows spelt at his gorgeous family farm called Thorpe Farm in Tasmania’s central highlands, but any spelt, farro or pearled barley would work as well.
- 20 g dried mushrooms, like porcini, trumpet, morel or chanterelles
- 500 ml boiling water
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
- 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 500 g fresh button mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 500 ml passata
- 2 litre stock or water
- 250 g spelt
- a couple of sprigs of thyme
- juice of 1 lemon
- ½ bunch finely chopped parsley
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time 30 minutes
Place dried mushrooms in a bowl and cover with 500 ml of boiling water. Set aside until soft, about 30 minutes.
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery, carrots and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add fresh mushrooms and cook until they start to colour. Add passata, dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid along with stock, spelt and thyme. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until spelt is tender, about 30-45 minutes. Stir through lemon juice and parsley and season to taste before serving.
Recipe and images from A Table In The Orchard by Michelle Crawford (Ebury Australia, $34.99, pbk).