Tuesday 3 August 2010

PPN Whimsical Mushroom and Rhubarb Soup

On the weekend we watched the first episode of the remake of The Prisoner. E thought it was great but I missed the whimsy of the original 1960s tv series. That evening as we discussed it, we agreed that my mushroom and rhubarb soup might have gone down quite well in the Village.

The Prisoner was a mystery to me when I was young. The only reason I had heard of it was that in the far away land of the UK, our Aussie tv series Prisoner, was called Cell Block H so as not to confuse it with The Prisoner. I don’t remember watching Prisoner but my sister swears that we used to crawl down behind the couch to watch it when we should have been in bed.

It was only when I met E that I began to appreciate The Prisoner. It was one of his favourite tv shows so he bought DVDs of the series. It is an amazing experience in 1960s psychedelia and paranoia mixed with the British seaside town. E thought an American stuck in the desert in the new series is fine but I just don’t like change that much.

When it comes to food I will embrace the new, though perhaps only when it has its own brand of whimsy. When searching for recipe for Ricki and Kim’s Rhubarb SOS Challenge, I had come across a Mushroom Soup with Rhubarb that intrigued me.

When I told my mum over the phone what I was making, she told me I was crazy and if she made it for dad he would have a fit. In the background E was telling me that take away pizza was looking good and Sylvia was screeching with laughter as she played with her big new green ball. None of this could put me off my challenge

I made some alterations to the recipe. I didn’t dicard the carrots, used less rhubarb, used parsley instead of dill, and added some chickpeas. The soup reminded me of stroganoff with the creamy noodles. The rhubarb made it quite sour and I ended up adding more salt and some honey. I served it with Brussels sprouts and it was nice but more interesting than wonderful. Least pleasing of all was the texture of the rhubarb in the soup so next time I would chop it finely rather than slicing it thinly.

Yesterday I had the leftovers for lunch with rocket and I loved it. I find rhubarb odd to cook with because it takes a bit of cooking for the flavours to show themselves. Maybe for this reason, the soup improves with a bit of maturity. Maybe my appreciation of the new episodes of The Prisoner will also improve with time.

I am sending this to Ruth of Once Upon a Feast for the Presto Pasta Nights blog event (#175). Head over there on Friday for some pasta inspiration.

Previously at Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Mexican Rice Soup
This time two years ago: My Vegetarian Lasagne
This time three years ago: Friday Night Tacos

Mushroom Stroganoff Soup (with Rhubarb)
Adapted from http://www.rhubarbinfo.com/soup#TOC62
Serves 4
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 5 large mushrooms (about 500g), diced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups potato water (or water)
  • 3 stalks rhubarb (about 250g), finely chopped
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ¾ tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp honey (or to taste)
  • 100g angel hair pasta, or noodles
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • chives, to serve

Heat oil in a large saucepan and fry onions for a few minutes on a low heat. Add carrots and continue frying. I fried them for 15 minutes but if I hadn’t lost a vegie sausage I was giving Sylvia for dinner I might have fried them less.

Add mushrooms and garlic and fry an additional 5 minutes. Add parsley rhubarb, stock, water, chickpeas and a little salt. Go easy on the salt and wait till the rhubarb has cooked to adjust the seasoning with salt and honey because the sourness of rhubarb will alter the flavour significantly. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes and then adjust seasoning.

Add noodles or pasta and cook for just a few minutes (my pasta only needed 2-3 minutes. If your noodles need longer they might need to be soaked in hot water or parboiled).

While pasta is cooking, remove a little of the liquid and mix with the cornflour in a small bowl. Add cornflour mixture to the soup and bring to the boil so it thickens slightly. Add sour cream and heat through.

Ladle into soup bowls and ladle with chives. Serve with green veg and bread.

On the stereo:
Serendipity: an introduction to … John Martyn


  1. I wouldn't have known about The Prisoner if not for the HH! I bought him the entire DVD set for Christmas a couple of years ago and we watched them all in succession. Yes, weird and psychedelic. And your mention of Sylvia playing with her big ball reminded me of the mystery ball in the series. . . ;) Must check out the new one. And your soup/stroganoff hybrid looks lovely, though I imagine the rhubarb would impart quite a bit of sourness!

  2. It certainly sounds interesting and I think worth trying. I have used rhubarb a couple of times in savoury cooking but can no longer remember what. Obviously not so impressive as to make again! Your picture certainly looks very tempting.

  3. Hmmmmmm, not sure at all, but everybody's reactions made me laugh :D

  4. Mmm now this is a dish absolultey fit for Winter isn't it! :D

  5. Wow - this is a very interesting soup! I would never have thought to combine those flavours! Very creatve indeed!

  6. People don't eat grey foods enough, in my humble opinion ;) I love that you kept going despite the distrust from those around you - now that's courage and fighting spirit!

  7. Thanks Ricki - yes Sylvia's ball reminded me of the ball in the prisoner - actually there was an art installation of white balls we saw a few weeks back that reminded me of the ball too

    Thanks choclette - interested to hear that you have experimented with rhubarb in savoury cooking - hope you do again and post it as I would love to hear about it (though not sure how you would do savoury cooking with chocolate and rhubarb:-) )

    Thanks Jacqueline - we laughed a lot about it too!

    Thanks Lorraine - I admire your diplomatic comment :-)

    Thanks Lisa - more creative than brilliant unfortunately :-)

    Thanks Hannah - I hang my head in shame for this grey offering - only the chunks of orange carrot and green chives give any relief to this grim looking dish - but I was curious!

  8. I commend you for your adventurous cooking!

  9. I never would've thought to combine mushrooms and rhubarb, but it certainly does sound whimsical! This looks like a great fall recipe to me!

  10. That is quite the intriguing dish. Thanks for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  11. Having made a rhubarb and lentil curry a little while ago, I have no doubt this combo with mushrooms would be delightful too.

    I was born in South Wales, but lived in North Wales for a year. I had the opportunity to go the the little village of Portmeirion twice with friends, where the original series was filmed. I so regret not going. I just got so distracted by the beauty of Harlech where I was living at the time. I honestly don't recall watching much The Prisoner much, and only kinow of it through its popularity, but I do recall after coming in from school, on one of the channels, way before 'Neighbours'hit the British TV screens seeing Prisoner Cell Box H. The theme song was also a hit in the pop charts too.

  12. What an interesting combination of flavours. I never would have thought to pair mushrooms with rhubarb.

    I, too, loved Ricki and Kim's challenge of finding savoury rhubarb recipes and I came up with quite a few winners last month. :) I wish I had more rhubarb to continue experimenting, but alas will have to wait for next year.

    You can find my rhubarb recipes here: http://tastespace.wordpress.com/tag/rhubarb/


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