No one pretends that Sherlock and Watson would have been doing much cooking, but this is a simple and elegant soup I could easily see Ms Hudson whipping up, or it being served as a first course at a city restaurant.
The original recipe comes from Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management, the closest thing England had to an official cookbook of the Victorian and Edwardian eras (we also talk about it on our Downton Abbey episode). It was made with beef and pale ale, but I decided to make a lighter version with mushrooms and Madeira.
Mushroom, Asparagus and Spinach Soup
- 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup Madeira
- 32 ounces beef broth
- 1 teaspoon Herbs de Provence (or dried herbs of your choice)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into half-inch pieces
- 1 large handful spinach, sliced
On medium heat, heat olive oil and cook mushrooms until they are browned and mostly cooked down. Raise the heat and add Madeira, then cook it off. Add beef broth and Herbs de Provence. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Add asparagus and cook 4-6 minutes until soft. Add spinach and stir in, cooking until just wilted. Serve hot.