Every year, the Cambridge Tolkien Society has a pre-Christmas meal, which we usually cook ourselves. For many years, this mushroom soup recipe has been used, often with me doing the cooking. It's pretty reliable, and seems to be successful, judging by the numbers coming back for seconds. It's vegetarian, but not vegan, and unsuitable for anyone allergic to or intolerant of milk, gluten or (obviously!) mushrooms.
To feed 16
- mushrooms: 2 lb / 900g
- butter: 12 oz / 350g
- plain flour: 6 oz / 170g (the original recipe has 6 handfuls!)
- garlic: 2 medium cloves (or more to taste)
- water: 6 pints / 3.4 litres
- milk: 2 pints / 1.14 litres (whole milk probably works best, but semi-skimmed is OK too)
- onion: 2 large (maybe 1lb / 450g in total)
- vegetarian stock cube: 6
- lemon juice: 2 teaspoonfuls
- salt and pepper: to taste
For the quantities above, a large preserving pan / jam kettle, with a volume well over a gallon / 4.5 litres.
Chop the onions and mushrooms separately.
Melt the butter in the pan.
Add the onions to the butter, and crush in the garlic. Cook over a low heat until the onions are soft.
Add the mushrooms to the onions, and cook for about 5 minutes.
Mix in the flour, and about half a pint (280ml) of water.
Cook for 15 minutes, adding more water if necessary (the consistency should be slurry, not stodge, so that it doesn't stick and burn).
Add the rest of the water, crush in the stock cubes, and bring to the boil (this takes a long time!).
Lower to medium heat, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring often.
Add the milk and turn to a low heat (do NOT boil after adding the milk).
Add salt, pepper and lemon juice, and let cook for a few minutes.
With the quantities given, the total cooking time is about 2 hours; there's enough for 2 ladlefuls (9 fl oz / 250ml) per person, and some seconds.