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Creamy mushroom soup

Choose small button or cup mushrooms for this recipe. Their delicate flavour blends well with the soft cheese. There is no need to peel them before using.
The larger open mushrooms may be used but the flavour will be stronger and the colour slightly darker.

ingredients

serves 4
250 g (9 oz) button mushrooms
50 g (2 oz) butter
2 tablespoons plain flour
600 ml (1 pint) milk
75 g (3 oz) full-fat soft cheese with chives
2 teaspoons lemon juice
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon snipped chives, to garnish

method

1. Finely chop the mushrooms, reserving 2 - 3 whole ones for the garnish. Melt half the butter in a frying-pan. Add the chopped mushrooms and fry gently for about 5 minutes until soft. Set aside.

2. Melt the remaining butter in a large saucepan, sprinkle in flour and stir over low heat for 1 - 2 minutes until it is straw-coloured. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to the heat and simmer, stirring, until the mixture is thick and smooth.

3. Remove from the heat, add the cheese a little at a time and stir until melted. Stir in the mushrooms, their juices and the lemon juice. Season to taste. Return to heat and simmer for 2 - 3 minutes.

4. Pour into 4 warmed soup bowls. Float a few slices of mushrooms on top of each serving. Sprinkle lightly with chives and serve at once.

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