My all-time favourite western soup has got to be Cream of Mushroom. I mean the fancy restaurant grade kind that is creamy smooth to the taste and oozing with mushroomy goodness. And so it is that when Karen Cheng blogged about making that soup with her 5.5 yr old son, I decided I want to try making one to my satisfaction – from scratch, in my own kitchen.
Karen Cheng’s recipes are always adapted to be more healthy. But I decided that for my virgin attempt at this sacred soup, I wanted it to be as sinfully tasty as possible. So I decided upon the recipe I found at Simply Recipes, with a few of my own adjustments.
Phei Yee and I had this for dinner yesterday along with salad and crusty garlic bread. It turned out more amazing than we expected. In PY’s words, it tasted like an $8 bowl of restaurant soup! This recipe is a must for mushroom lovers and very easy to prepare!
ANN’S CREAM OF MUSHROOM SOUP RECIPE (version 1)
(altered from the one at Simply Recipes)
* 300g white button mushrooms
* 150g baby portobello mushrooms
* 1 lemon, juiced
* 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 Tbsp minced shallots
* 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme
* 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
* 400ml heavy cream + 100ml milk
* 1 1/2 cups home-made chicken stock
* 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in 1 Tbsp water
* Minced parsley for garnish
1 Coarsely chop mushrooms and mix with 1 Tbsp lemon juice (food processor would be helpful).
2 Melt butter in (4-5 quart) sauce pan and lightly sautÃ© shallots on medium heat. Add mushrooms, thyme and bay leaf, sautÃ© over moderate heat for 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid that is released from the mushrooms disappears.
3 Add salt, pepper, cream and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
4 Add cornstarch and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Correct seasoning and add more lemon juice to taste.
5 Cool the soup until it is not scalding hot and use blender to blend the soup until smoothness of your choice. (If you have a stick blender, you’d be able to blend the soup right in the saucepan/pot.)
6 Reheat if necessary and serve sprinkled with a little parsley and with delicious crusty bread! Serves 3-4 persons.
Helpful tips from my experience:
1. The lemon in the recipe is absolutely essential! The acidity in the lemon counteracts the fat in the cream, enhancing the flavour of the mushrooms and spices while dampening the overwhelming ‘milky’ taste of the cream. At the end when tweaking the seasoning, try adding more lemon juice a little at a time before adding more salt or pepper – the taste of the soup improves!
2. Use more than one type of mushroom – it adds depth to the taste!
3. Some recipes slice the mushrooms at the start and blend the soup later, the one at Simply Recipes ask for chopped mushrooms and has no blending later. I chopped (quite finely) the mushrooms for sautÃ©eing and blended the soup later. Don’t know if doing both makes a difference but it turned out great.
4. If you’re health conscious, you can probably try using less cream and more chicken stock, or substitute some milk for cream. I don’t know how well non-dairy substitutes with work with the soup.
5. Blending the soup at the end is vital not only to get that smooth, creamy consistency, but for every mouthful to be bursting with rich mushroom goodness!