French wild mushroom & lentil soup

by Jenny Chandler

A wholesome soup, topped with sauteed mushrooms


For the soup:
15g dried porcini mushrooms
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
2 celery sticks, diced
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
225g puy lentils
1.5 litres stock
1 bouquet garni (or a farcellet from Brindisa)
Juice of ½ lemon
3 tbsp crème fraîche

For the sauteed wild mushrooms:
30g butter
300g mixed wild mushrooms: girolles, chanterelles, morels, horns of plenty, cep
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 small handful of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped


Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in some hot water for about 30 mins. Once soft, squeeze out any excess water and chop them finely. Reserve the soaking liquid—it may need straining if it is gritty.

Take a large saucepan and gently fry up the onion, carrot and celery in the oil until really soft but not coloured.

Throw in the garlic and, as soon as you can smell it, add the chopped dried mushrooms and the lentils. Stir everything together then tip over the stock and the mushroom water and add the bouquet garni.

Simmer the lentils for about 30 mins until really tender. I like to purée a small quantity of my lentils with a stick blender to give a creamy base liquid, but you may decide to skip this step or alternatively purée the lot and make a smooth soup. Add a little water or stock if the soup seems very thick.

Add salt, lemon juice, crème fraiche and plenty of black pepper, to taste.

For the sautéed mushrooms, clean the mushrooms thoroughly, wiping rather than washing.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan, turn up the heat and toss in the mushrooms—the idea is to fry rather than sweat them. Once they’ve begun to caramelise and their liquid has evaporated (after about 5 mins), add the garlic and parsley. Taste and season.

Serve the soup with a mound of sautéed mushrooms in the middle of each bowl.

Recipe: Jenny Chandler