Sunday 14 June 2009

Cheesy Potato and Mushroom Soup with Greens

All inspired, I set out for the supermarket yesterday to buy ingredients to make a breakfast burrito for dinner. But by the time I started to prepare dinner, the day had got away from me so I made a quick and easy soup instead. I was able to draw on a bounty of ingredients, both newly purchased and some leftover from previous meals.

One whimsical purchase was the vegetarian bacon, known in our household as facon (fakin’). It is rarely seen in my cooking because I am not a big fan of faux meats – apart from vegetarian sausages. But every now and again, I get all nostalgic for the time before I went vegetarian and have some facon. Then I realise its taste is too strong for me and I avoid it for another few years.

Back in my meat eating days I did eat bacon quite a bit. It appealed because it doesn’t look like an animal and very little of it was needed to flavour a meal. I ate on the cheap in these student days and some rebellious rashers with little sprouts of hairs and bits of bone made me feel a little queasy. Anyway, after reading Charlotte’s Web the idea if eating pig was never easy. It is something I can easily live without.

Unlike E, who loves a piece of bacon with his eggs at breakfast time. He swooned over this soup, particularly the facon. It was creamy and richly flavoured with an honourable mention to my home made stock which I shall write about another time. I blended it a little but wanted some of the chunky texture of onion, mushroom and bacon to remain. E wasn’t so keen on the few large chunks of potato but they were so soft that I quite liked them.

The soup might have been a bit heavy but was lightened with the fresh green splashes of wilted spinach, watercress and parsley. Some might prefer to serve greens alongside such a rich soup rather than together but I love having a meal in a bowl of soup. I am looking forward to finishing off the leftovers tonight.

I am sending this soup to Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes who has recently come out from behind her pseudonym of Holler to reveal her actual name (So nice to have a real name but I like Holler too – can I combine them – Joller, Jacquoller, Hollerine???). She hosts the No Croutons Required event with Lisa of Lisa’s Kitchen. This month the theme is a vegetarian soup or salad featuring leaves.

Cheesy Potato and Mushroom Soup with Greens
Serves 4

½ red onion, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
3 rashers of facon (veggie bacon), chopped*
200g button mushrooms, chopped
3 cloves garlic, sliced
850g potatoes, chopped
750ml vegetable stock
½ tsp chilli paste
½ tsp seeded mustard
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
½ cup yoghurt
100g baby spinach leaves, chopped
⅔ bunch of watercress, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped

*If you are not a fan of faux meat (and I sympathise if you aren't) then you can substitute real bacon or a tsp of smoked paprika here. I have also realised that facon isn't gluten free.

Heat oil in a large saucepan and fry onions over low heat for about 5 minutes til golden brown. Add facon and fry 3 minutes til it starts to crisp up. Add mushrooms and garlic and fry for about 10 minutes til soft.

Now add potatoes, stock, chilli paste and mustard. Bring to the boil and then simmer about 30 minutes until potatoes soft and falling apart.

Remove from heat. Stir in cheese till melted and then add yoghurt. Roughly blend with a stick blender leaving some of the soup still chunky. (If you don’t have a stick blender you can put half the soup into a blender to puree and return to the saucepan.)

Stir in spinach, watercress and parsley into hot soup and allow a couple of minutes for them to wilt before serving.

On the Stereo:
Chill with Bach


  1. johanna, this soup sounds really good. I am not keen on bacon either, so I would opt to smoked paprika. I am waiting for your post on vegetable stock. Still looking around for a good one. (The store bought one is normally too salty for me)

  2. Oh Johanna I love potato soup. My grandmother just made the very best and I still try to recreate it and always miss. I'll have to try yours and see where I get.
    That is a super opening line on this post and your faking story is great!

  3. Lovely submission! You know, bacon was one of the last meats I ate before becoming a vegetarian. Like you say, it least resembles an animal :)

  4. I love the soup! I keep meaning to try a soup with watercress...thanks for the inspiration - hope all is well!

  5. Yum, this sounds delish! I would like to invite you to participate in a blog event I am hosting this month - here is the info:

  6. Never - not ever - tasted facon, but I am intrigued now...

    Can't wait for your stock recipe. I love peeking into other people's stock pots!

  7. Looks perfect for Winter! I love thick, sustaining soups as I can eat them without feeling that I need to have anything else! :)

  8. Woopee doopee! That looks good! Mmmm, I am salavating just looking at it! Mushrooms, cheese, garlic, potatoes, mmmmmmm!

    Good Luck

    Jacqueline/Jac/Jacquoller/Holler - hehe!

  9. Perfect soup creation! I'm with you on having a meal in a bowl so I love that you added your greens to the soup too.

  10. Hollerine?! Sounds brilliantly like Wolverine :)

    It has *never* occurred to me to put fake meat in a soup so I'm quite intrigued. I've never eaten real bacon so I might go down the smoked paprika route but I do like the sound of the mushrooms and potatoes with some sort of extra smoky zing. I hope it satisfied your 'facon' cravings for a while!

  11. Looks like real comfort food. Yum. Could go a bowl right now.

  12. Thanks Anh - the smokiness is what gives flavour rather than bacon so I am sure the paprika would do it

    Thanks Tanna - wonder what your grandmother would have thought of the facon

    Thanks Lisa - I think a little bacon goes a long way so it a good transition meat before going vegetarian

    Thanks VeganCowGirl - the other soup I have with watercress that is amazing is the split pea with watercress - well worth a try (in the index)

    Thanks Simply Gluten Free - I always mean to participate in that blog event so will try and join in - so long as the deadline doesn't get away from me

    thanks Lucy - facon isn't that wonderful - it is a little plasticky - but does the trick occasionally

    Thanks Lorraine - I love soup for dinner in winter - and don't need anything else with the chunky soups I make

    Thanks Holler - I just put in every warming comforting food I could find in the kitchen :-)

    Thanks Ashley - throwing in the greens at the end is the easy way to make sure they are part of dinner

    Thanks Lysy - I have put veg sausages in stew but I have never had facon in soup - and only did it because need to use up the packet

    Thanks Wendy - it was just the comfort food we needed now it is cooler here


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