Mushroom velouté and banana soup

I recently had a mushroom velouté… I’d heard of veloutés before and thought they were a sauce – which they are, a velvety creamy sauce, but there are also veloutés served as themselves, like a soup. This one was served in coffee cups, garnished with peashoots and offered as tempting little start to the delcious meal which followed. I should have known more about veloutés – or remebered more about them, because when I was writing about sauces I mentioned velouté as one of the five French ‘mother’s sauces – along with espagnole, tomato, béchamel and hollandaise. To make it is actually quite easy – butter, flour and a light stock.

Does my old cookery book, Modern Practical Cookery have any veloutés? No, but I get a little sidetracked by some of the weird soups they do have – would it be worth making a couple to try? No, I don’t think so, I’d probably be he only one who take more than a teeny tiny spoonful… Banana soup? really? That sounds as though it might be very velvetty. Cream of cheese soup? I think probably not – it’s flavoured with cayenne, onion and garlic and herbs as well as lots of pepper, but I can’t seem my family tucking in. Only one person apart from me likes cucumber, but they don’t like any soup but tomato and chicken, so cucumber or cream of cucumber soup would be another no. Eel soup? Giblet soup with the sub-heading ‘not spiced too much!’ and spaghetti? Norwegian fruit soup? Semolina cream soup? Turnip purée soup? There is a mushroom soup, which is rubbed through a hair sieve (no blenders or liquidisers in those days) but it doesn’t sound at all like the mushroom velouté I enjoyed.

Just in case you fancy it here is the recipe for banana soup:

Banana soup

  • 6 unripe bananas, thickly sliced
  • ½ lb green tomatoes, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 turnip, sliced
  • ½ tsp celery seeds
  • 1½ pints good beef stock
  • 1 oz each of butter and flour (or more as necessary)
  • 1 dsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bunch fresh herbs, chopped
  1. fry the tomatoes, onions and turnips for ten minutes in the butter
  2. remove vegetables from pan and add flour to make a roux with the butter and juices (add a little more butter if necessary)
  3. add the curry, Worcestershire sauce, and celery (the written recipe suggests adding the herbs now but I think they would lose their flavour so I would wait and add them at the end, reserving a little for garnish)
  4. add the stock, stirring as you do so and bring to the boil
  5. add the bananas and simmer until tender
  6. I would then add most of chopped herbs for just a couple of minutes
  7. rub through a sieve (or blitz, blend or process)
  8. return to the pan just to bring back to temperature
  9. serve garnished with the remaining chopped herbs
  10. the recipe doesn’t mention yoghurt – hardly surprising since it wasn’t in use then, but I think a swirl or dollop of yoghurt/sour cream/creme fraiche would be nice

I really am not sure about the turnip – and I would not include it, not even to be authentic!!


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