Bring the water to the boil in a small saucepan.
Add the dried ceps and soak for 30 min
Peel and finely dice the onion.
Peel the carrot and celeriac. Cut into 5mm dice. Cut thre beetroot into 5mm dice.
Peel and grate the garlic.
Pick and finely chop the thyme.
Drain the ceps and make sure you they are free from grit. If this means checking them individually, then so be it: chewing on gritty mushrooms is not a pleasant thing!
Strain the soaking liquid through a clean cloth or muslin and add this to the chicken stock.
In a large saucepan, heat the butter gently and fry the bacon untill lightly golden.
Add the onion and garlic, season lightly with salt and pepper and cook gently over a low heat for 10 min with a lid on.
Add the rehydrated ceps, celeriac, carrot, thyme and bay leaf to the pan.
Cover with a lid and cook gently until the carrots and celeriac are almost tender, about 25min. If necessary, add a little stock to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
Add the beetroot then cover with the rest of the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for a further 5 - 10 min.
Whilst the soup is simmering,
Finely chop the chives and mix through the soured cream.
Give the broth a good stir just before serving, so as to ensure each plate gets a little of everything. Ladle into bowls and top with a dollop of the soured cream and chives.
«Try to find bacon in a piece and cut it yourself, as ready-prepared lardons are a little too small for this broth. Your local butcher should have this. Look for dried ceps with a AA grading, these will have much less grit on them.»