Spinach and Roast Mushroom Soup

Roasting mushrooms with lemon juice and olive oil is a useful idea to remember. They end up juicy and tender, creating more juice than they eventually do when fried. For this soup, it meant I had exactly the right amount of time – about 15 minutes – to soften spring onions and garlic in butter, stirring in torn, stale sourdough then spinach, latter adding stock. Everything liquidised together producing a thick, luscious soup that is very good with soft-poached eggs cooked separately. The eggs are an optional extra; a dollop of crème fraiche is another good option. As with other green soups with spinach (and lemon), the lovely colour will fade.

Serves 4
Prep: 15 min
Cook: 25 min

300g baby mushrooms (mine were chestnut but regular is fine)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon
bunch spring onions
1 garlic clove
40g butter
20g slice sourdough (stale is good)
150g baby spinach
750ml chicken or vegetable stock (or 1 ½ cube in 750ml boiling water)

Wipe the mushrooms to remove any grit and place in snug oven tin tossed with 1 tbsp olive oil and a generous squeeze of lemon. Roast for 15 minutes at 180C/gas mark 4 or until very juicy. Tip the pan, so the mushrooms can rest in the juices while you finish other jobs. Trim and thinly slice the spring onions including as much green as possible. Crack the garlic, flake away the skin and chop. Melt the butter and soften onion and garlic in a pan over a medium-low heat. Tear the bread into pieces and stir them into the onion, stirring as they soak up the oily juices and begin to brown; about 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach, stirring until wilted. Liquidize mushroom and juices and the contents of the onion pan with 750ml hot stock. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve now or later with or without a soft-poached egg or spoonful of crème fraiche.