Broiled tomato soup in potato oyster mushroom fond

Broiled tomato soup

Broiled tomato soup

Bright red tomatoes

Bright red tomatoes

So here I am, with bright red tomatoes at the ready, thirsting for some soup. But no chicken broth in the house. Of course one can use water, but I do need to add back in some of that lovely savoriness that a broth would have added.

So I choose a multi-pronged attack.

a) Saute oyster mushrooms into the base. This takes care of the missing umami taste.

b) Brown tiny potato cubes in the base of the pot, to add some of that Maillard goodness.

c) Broil the tomatoes before adding them in to the soup, to add the caramelized flavor of the browned skin.

d) Add some milk/cream at the end to add in the missing protein flavor. Also adds creaminess.

e) Add some Worcestershire sauce, which basically being bottled umami flavor, is a bit of a cheat. The interesting thing here is that one of the ‘natural flavorings’ used in this sauce may be asafetida (heeng), which is used extensively in Indian cooking. And yes, I can vouch for its umami-ness. Among its ingredients is tamarind, also an old stand-by in Indian cooking. I guess those British did pick up a few tidbits about Indian food in the 200-odd years they spent hanging around us.

Oh — and for an aromatic, parsley. Just parsley.


Handful of chopped parsley

Fistful of chopped oyster mushrooms

One medium potato (new red or purple) chopped into small cubes

Six small tomatoes

Olive oil – some

Salt to taste

Worcestershire sauce – one teaspoon. Substitute with red wine or balsamic vinegar.

Quarter cup milk or cream.


Heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil in a thick-bottomed pot. Add potato cubes to it and a sprinkle of salt. Saute on medium-high heat for about 10-15 minutes. The potato will start to brown and stick to the bottom of pot for dear life. Let it brown, then dark brown, do not worry. We will deglaze off all that stuck goodness later.

Potatoes browning

Potatoes browning

When it seems that it is on the verge of actually just charring (you do not want that), add in the chopped mushrooms. They will sweat and unstick some of the potato fond. Oh, yes, that is exactly what ‘fond’ means — the foundation or base of a sauce. After a few minutes the mushrooms will have sweated and shrunk. Now add in the minced parsley. Cook, stirring occasionally. You can cover it if you like, to get it to sweat more. Now sprinkle in the Worcestershire sauce, and stir, to deglaze some more.

Minced parsley and chopped oyster mushrooms

Minced parsley and chopped oyster mushrooms

Soup fond nicely browned

Soup fond nicely browned Soup fond nicely browned and water added

Once the mixture looks — I don’t know, kind of soup-base-y, put in a cup and a half of water, bring to a boil, and leave at a very gentle simmer, uncovered.

Halved tomatoes with olive oil

Halved tomatoes with olive oil

Meanwhile, rise and stem the tomatoes. Cut them in half, place face down on an oven-safe dish, and rub olive oil all over them. Broil for 7 minutes or until the skin has wrinkled and charred. Take them out of the oven. You can peel them if you like but I left the peel on. Puree them and toss into the soup.

Broiled tomato halves

Broiled tomato halves

Simmer the soup another ten or twenty minutes, check for salt and blend again if you like it smooth. Add milk and just heat through (do not bring to a boil at this point, because otherwise it will curdle).

IMG_0459[1] IMG_0462[1]

Serve! Possible garnish: shaved parmesan cheese, croutons, parsley, chives. And, I didn’t miss the chicken broth at all.


2 thoughts on “Broiled tomato soup in potato oyster mushroom fond

  1. This looks so easy and GOOD, I’m going to have to try it. In the very first step do you need to add any oil or butter to the pan when cooking the potatoes?


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