Part of this year’s epic #52soups project that Carole and I have embarked on is to take us outside of our comfort zones. To try things we wouldn’t normally try, use ingredients we wouldn’t normally use and generally just enjoy the act of cooking.
We’re three weeks into it and I’ve already drawn a line quite firmly through anything mushroom-based.
I have a curious relationship with mushrooms. For the most part, I don’t like them. But when they’re part of things, I can generally get along with them quite well. Anything “…and mushroom” is usually a safe bet. I’m usually onboard with things like that. They wouldn’t be my first choice, but I can generally handle them.
This week’s soup is mushroom and potato. Obviously the drawback with this one is that mushroom is the first ingredient in the title, so it’s the opposite of my usual game plan. But weight for weight, the mushrooms and other ingredients are more-or-less on an equal billing. So I thought it would be alright.
It’s not alright.
Bloody porcini mushrooms, that’s why.
Dried they smell like something you’d find in a cattle shed. I was nearly ill this afternoon as I cut my way into the packet and, at one point, I was unsure if I held mushroom bits in my hand or whether I had accidentally opened a packet of bark chippings. But these mushrooms come to life when you add boiling water to them, so off we went on a culinary adventure.
When you’re not a massive fan of mushrooms what adding boiling water to porcini mushrooms does is fill your kitchen with the smell of very strong mushrooms.
And then when you then use that stock to make the soup, you further the stench of the shroom to the point that I have basically ruled myself out from having any because just the thought of it makes me nauseous. Luckily, Carole loved it and polished off a huge bowl of it with the sort of gusto you would expect of a seagull coming across an abandoned cone of chips.
I am all for trying new things and really enjoying new flavours and what-have-you, but maybe I was foolish to start the mushroom thing off with such a high mushroom concentration. Maybe I should have eased into it with something that doesn’t turn vegetable stock a dark shade of brown and have pungent earthy overtones.
Still, you live and learn. I’ll have to try something else that’s outside of the comfort zone. I’m not sure what that will be at this moment in time. But it’s only fair.
After all, Carole has unwittingly eaten pistachios after I cunningly hid them in some pesto earlier in the week. And she has a similar reaction to nuts as I do to edible fungus.