Growing thyme is one of the glories of the herb world. Not only is it an aromatic and important component to bouquet garni, the traditional herbal packet in French cooking, it is also a warming and medicinal herb much used in areas where winters can be cold and extreme. It is not only a culinary herb, but a powerful disinfectant, thanks to the essential oil , thymol , contained within the leaves of the thyme plant. A warming bath containing a decoction of thyme tea, can often relieve harsh coughs and discourage fevers. A cup of thyme leaves steeped in a quart of boiling water, then strained and added to the bath water, can be helpful when struggling with the chill of winter. A tablespoon of thyme steeped in the teapot and sipped, can be helpful when coughs become a problem.

Thyme lends a delightful scent to everything from roasted chicken, to roasts, to this simple mushroom soup.

Mushroom Soup with thyme and cayenne

Mushroom Soup

You will need:

  • a 10 oz. box of white mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
  • 2 T. unsalted butter
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. minced parsley
  • 2 t. dried thyme
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • pinch of cayenne pepper, or hot pepper flakes

In a skillet or large saucepan, heat the butter and olive oil.

Add the mushrooms and saute on medium-high heat, until the mushrooms are browned and smell nutty. If the mushrooms are crowded, saute in two batches, adding a small amount of more butter and olive oil.

Add the chicken or vegetable stock to the mushrooms in the  skillet or saucepan, then the thyme, hot pepper flakes or cayenne, salt and pepper, and parsley. Simmer for five minutes.

Puree soup in a blender, or use an immersion blender to puree until soup is smooth.

This makes three medium bowls of soup.