Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Mushroom Soup

There’s nothing better than a warm bowl of soup on a cold night, especially when it’s cream of mushroom soup. There’s something about it that harkens back to our childhood, right? But rather than cream of mushroom soup from a can, this is a much more elegant version that is easy to make, quick to come together, and is worthy of serving to company. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did last night during a winter snow storm.

If you can, use an assortment of regular (button or cremini) mushrooms and wild mushrooms (oyster, trumpet, portobello, porcini, etc.). You can also use dried mushrooms (3 oz of dried for each pound of fresh mushrooms). Simply reconstitute them in hot water for 20-30 minutes. If you use dried, I highly suggest you use part of the mushroom water in lieu of the same amount of chicken stock.

An assortment of wild mushrooms

Serves: 4
Time to prepare: 45 minutes

Ingredients:
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large shallots, diced
2 scallions, white parts only, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbsp butter
1 lb fresh button mushrooms, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 lb fresh wild mushrooms, cut into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 cup dry sherry or white wine, plus 1 Tbsp
5 cups chicken stock (you can substitute vegetable stock if you prefer)
3-4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp flour or cornstarch mixed in a small bowl with 1 1/2 Tbsp of water
1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper to taste

In a heavy large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When hot, add the shallots, scallions and garlic. Sauté until shallots are soft and translucent but not browned, about 3-4 minutes. Add the butter and once melted, add all of the mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are soft and tender, about 6-7 minutes. 

Add the 1/2 cup of sherry or wine, and turn heat up to medium high. Cook until about half the liquid is gone, about 5 minutes.

Add the thyme and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and maintain the simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes. You’ll want to purée half of the soup and mushrooms in a blender, which you may need to do in more than one batch. Fill the blender no more than 1/3 full and blend until smooth. (Important note: hot liquids expand when you blend them and can blow the lid off your blender, showering you and everything around you with hot liquid, so be careful! I always partially open the center part of the blender lid to allow steam to escape and hold down the lid with my other hand.)

Once blended in one or two batches, return the blended soup to the pot with everything else. Now add the cream and the additional Tbsp of sherry or white wine (you can also use Cognac if you like). Stir thoroughly, bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes to reduce slightly. Very gently pour in the flour or cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly to avoid lumps (you can also do a roux of butter and flour). Continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened. 

Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in most of the chopped parsley, but reserve a little for garnish. Ladle into large bowls, top with parsley garnish, and if desired, some fresh ground black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve your delicious cream of mushroom soup and enjoy!

Bon appétit!

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