Friday, October 26, 2012

Recipe redux - Cream of mushroom soup

What do you call a mushroom that picks up the bar tab? A fun-guy to be with!

Get it? Fun-guy to be with? Fungi to be with? I slay me!

Anywho.... The test drive of my soup recipe as a cream of mushroom was a smashing success.

I made the soup with two kinds of mushrooms. Probably not strictly necessary. And since I'm not a 'shroom expert, I can't say with certainty that the two kinds of mushrooms I used are the optimal mushroom mix. But it was good. Lick the bowl good. Trust me.

This would be a primo recipe to use when you find a mushroom markdown. (A mushroom markdown is like a ballroom blitz, only different.)

By the way, what happens to mushrooms beyond their expiration date? Do they get moldy? A fungus pileup?

But I digress. Here's the recipe.

Confabulous Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • olive or coconut oil (I'm still partial to olive.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (optional) (I usually cheat and buy pre-minced garlic in a jar.)
  • 6 oz button mushrooms, chopped or sliced (I bought a 6-oz package of whole button mushrooms and diced them to a fine chop.)
  • 6 oz shitaki mushrooms, chopped or sliced (I bought a 6-oz package of pre-cleaned pre-sliced shitaki mushrooms and used them without additional prep.)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 cups light cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon sage (to taste)

Saute the onion and celery in a little olive or coconut oil until the onion is soft and heading toward translucent.

Add the garlic, if you're using it, and saute for a minute or two longer. Don't let the garlic burn.

Add the butter and then add the mushrooms. Saute the mixture for a minute or two to let the mushrooms release liquid and absorb the buttery seasoned flavors. I think this is a must.

Add the chicken broth to the vegetables in the pot, enough chicken broth to cover the vegetables and mushrooms. (This time I actually measured the broth and my first estimate (2 cups) was a good one. Two cups it is!) Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until the onion and celery are fork-tender.

Slowly add the cream to the vegetables and broth, bring to a low simmer but do not allow to boil. (Again, I measured the cream to double check my first estimate. Again, the 2 cups was right on target.)

Puree to desired smoothness with an immersion (stick) blender. You can also puree by ladling the mixture into a blender or food processor and then returning to the pot on the stove. Do not over-blend.
Note: I use an immersion blender, but I do not blend the soup to a completely smooth and homogeneous state. I prefer a little texture. By using a combination of finely diced mushrooms and sliced mushrooms, I was able to blend to get thickness and richness of taste and still have some small pieces of mushroom for "bite." Some method of blending the soup is preferred because the pureed vegetables thicken the soup and eliminate the need for flour or corn starch, but it was mighty tasty before blending. Go ahead and give it a try even if you can't puree.
Add the sage to the soup and stir. Allow to simmer for 5-10 minutes. The sage is a good complement to the earthy mushroom flavor.

Salt and pepper to taste. My soup did not need any salt or pepper at this point. It was simply mushtacular.

Maybe I should warn you that this is not a good recipe to make if you do not like mushrooms or cream of mushroom soup. That's probably a superfluous warning but I thought the warning on my toaster not to use it in the bathtub was superfluous, too.  If you're a mushroom lover, give this a try.

Cook Ahead Potential
I can already report that the recipe has cook ahead potential. I froze half of the soup, but then ate it again only a couple of days later because it was so good we wanted more. Maybe I'll actually leave it in the freezer longer next time so I can see how it weathers longer storage.

So good.

Wanted more.

The microwave is my friend.

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