This is an absolutely delicious soup. Ceps Boletus edulis and walnuts make perfect partners. It is also very quick and easy to make.
500 grams fresh porcini (ceps)
1.25 litres of chicken stock
(or 2 organic Kallo chicken stock cubes
1.4 litres of water)
A handful of shelled, chopped walnuts
1 dessert spoon walnut oil
1 dessert spoon flour
4-5 tablespoons cream
Salt, pepper and nutmeg
Makes 8 bowls
Clean the mushrooms by brushing and shaving off any dirt and wiping them over with kitchen paper. Chop them and leave to one side. Slice the onion finely.
Sauté the onion in half the butter, in a large saucepan, until it starts to soften. Add the porcini and sauté gently, adding the rest of the butter and the walnut oil. Season with salt, pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Sauté for a further five minutes until the mushrooms start to soften too.
Sprinkle over the flour and mix in well with a wooden spoon then start to slowly add the warm stock, blending well with the spoon to prevent any lumps. Once all the stock is in, add the handful of walnuts. Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and blend with a stick blender until smooth. Now adjust the seasoning and add the cream. Serve immediately or, if prepared in advance of the meal, reheat before serving.
When serving, put into warmed bowls, drizzle a touch of chilli oil on and add some grated or pared Parmesan curls.
Green Walnut Grappa
Adapted from a Dió Pálinka (Walnut Brandy) recipe that I tried in a Hungarian cellar at Somló – amongst many others!! Pálinka is traditionally a fruit brandy but as most of my readers won’t have a still (it’s illegal) I have turned it into a grappa or nocino instead.
1 litre of grappa (vodka, pálinka, white spirit 40 – 45 % vol.)
250g to 400 g sugar (depending how sweet you like liqueurs)
10 large green walnuts (or 15 small ones)
Traditional: a couple of roasted coffee beans
Foragers: a couple of roasted dandelion roots or toasted cleavers seed.
Traditional: 5-6 cloves, a stick of cinnamon and half a mace
Foragers: a half handful of common hogweed seeds and alexanders seed (ripe green hogweed seeds can also be toasted)
Pick the walnuts while the skin is still green and a fork will pierce right through them including the young shell inside. Wearing gloves – unless you want brown stained hands – cut each nut into quarters (don’t peel them) then half again. Put the pieces into a preserving jar and pour the alcohol over them, adding beans or spices if you prefer. Seal the jar tightly and leave on a sunny windowsill for 6 weeks.
Walnuts soaking for a 6 week stretch
After 6 weeks, strain off the dark brown liquid, discarding the blackened walnuts. Gently heat the sugar in a little hot water until all the crystals have dissolved. Add the resulting thin syrup to the filtered alcohol. Bottle and leave for another 6 weeks.
Chop the walnuts as before then put all the ingredients, adding half a litre of water, into a saucepan and cook until the sugar dissolves. Pour all into the preserving jar. Seal and leave for at least 2 weeks. Strain and bottle.
More things to do with Green Walnuts here.