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    Chestnut Mushroom Soup with Breadsticks

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    Chestnut Mushroom Soup with Breadsticks

    Serves: 4


    • 500g chestnut mushrooms
    • 4 tbsp olive oil
    • 6 shallots, chopped
    • 1 clove garlic, crushed
    • 2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
    • Salt and black pepper
    • 1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
    • 2 tbsp creme fraiche
    • For the bread sticks
    • 35g fresh yeast
    • 175ml warm water
    • 400g strong white flour (Italian is best)
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tbsp thyme leaves, or 1 tbsp dried oregano
    • 3 tsp caraway or fennel seeds
    • 30g butter, melted
    • Semolina, for dusting


    1. Chop the mushrooms into quarters, keeping 4 whole for serving. Fry all the mushrooms in the oil in a pan until browned. Add the shallots, garlic, thyme and seasoning, and sauté, without browning the shallots, until soft. Reserve the four whole mushrooms. Add the stock to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes. Blend in batches in a liquidiser until smooth. (For a coarser puree, blend in a processor.) Stir in the creme fraiche and reheat before serving. Serve topped with a mushroom and with warm, freshly baked bread sticks.
    2. To make the bread sticks, dissolve the yeast in the water, combine with the flour, salt and olive oil and mix together to make a smooth elastic dough. Knead together for about 10 minutes. Cover and leave to rest in a warm place for about an hour. Divide the dough into two. Add 1 tbsp thyme leaves or oregano to one half and 3 tsp caraway or fennel seeds to the other, and knead both balls of dough again. Roll each out into a rectangle measuring approximately 22x16cm and cut each into 8 lengths. Put onto a greased baking sheet, cover and leave in a warm plain to rise for about 10 minutes. Brush with melted butter, dust with semolina and bake in the oven at 220°C, gas mark 7 for 10-15 minutes until tinged golden. Transfer to a cooling rack and eat warm with the soup.

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