Mushroom and port soup is a natural companion to a glass of good port. Pick up a cheaper bottle of port that still has rich body to make the soup. Either a Grant Burge Aged Tawny or Brown Brothers Australian Tawny (both under $20) would be ideal.

800 g mixed fresh mushrooms (oyster, button, brown, field, chanterelles, shiitake)
Good lug of olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1 red onion, peeled and chopped finely
1 handful picked fresh thyme
250ml tawny port wine
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
3 tablespoon mascarpone

1. In a large Dutch oven or saucepan, fry the mushrooms in olive oil for a minute, then add the garlic and onion. Fry for about two minutes, until the mushrooms start to soften and release water. Add the thyme and port and fry until the most of the liquid has evaporated.
2. Season to taste, then add the stock to the pan. Bring to the boil, reduce heat to a gentle boil and then simmer for around 20 minutes. Turn off the pan and allow the soup to cool slightly.
3. Using a hand blender, whizz the soup in the pan until puréed (you can cool the soup and put it into a stand blender if you don’t have a hand blender). Return to the heat and bring to a gentle boil.
4. Add the mascarpone and stir to blend.

Serve with crusty bread and finish your meal with a glass of port.

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