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Recipe Monday: Cream of Mushroom Soup

October 1, 2012
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So, about three weeks ago, I came down with what I thought was simply the flu. About a week into it, whatever it was settled into my chest. Still, I thought I’d get over it. At the two week mark, when I couldn’t breathe and was coughing up blood, K & the husband-thing carted me off to the doctor. I had acute bronchitis with little air movement in the lower portion of my lungs, and the coughing had scraped my throat raw (hence the blood). I was slapped onto antibiotics and an anti-tussive, but… come on. It’s bronchitis. The coughing was going to go on until I was better. 🙂

But, my throat was raw, I had no appetite, and I couldn’t speak. When the husband-thing was going to be gone for several hours one night, I asked him to make me this soup. I am a huge fan of mushroom soups, and this one was hot and simple and everything I wanted. I devoured two bowls before he left. 😀 If he can make it—and he isn’t a good cook by far—anyone can. I’ve also included some variations for people who don’t like mushrooms.

2 pound regular white mushrooms, cleaned
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 minced shallots
1/2 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 TBSP cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Minced parsley for garnish

Coarsely chop 1lb of mushrooms. Melt butter in large sauce pan (I use my 5qt pot). Sauté shallots on medium heat. Add mushrooms, lemon juice, and bay leaf. Sauté over medium-high heat for 10-15 minutes until all liquid has evaporated. Add salt, pepper, cream, and chicken stock and bring to boil. Reduce heat, add in remaining mushrooms (sliced medium thickness), and simmer for 20 minutes. Add cornstarch slurry and simmer for an additional 10 minutes, stirring constantly. Taste the soup and adjust salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Serve sprinkled with parsley.

This recipe can easily be adjusted to be just about Cream of Anything, and the taste will be far superior to tinned soups. Instead of mushrooms, coarsely chop in a food processor broccoli, asparagus, or celery. Cook those down in the pot, and add the rest of the ingredients. You can use cheeses with the broccoli one, or you can just make a cheese soup, though I’d start with a roux first. You could take three or four potatoes, peel them, dice them finely, and boil them in the cream-stock mixture with some minced celery for a Cream of Potato Soup.

You can also do a Cream of Chicken or Cream of Turkey soup. Those would require a little more work. Instead of shallots, use a Spanish onion. Finely dice some carrots and celery. Add 2TBSP flour to the butter and vegetables. Make an herb bunch out of thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Let everything simmer 15-20 minutes, and then remove the herb bunch and add in a pound of finely chopped chicken. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes. Serve with chopped parsley.

If you’re feeling particularly indulgent, you could do Cream of Shrimp. Make the soup to the 20 minute simmer stage (minus the mushrooms). I’d even add a tablespoon of tomato paste at that point, plus a pound of fresh, fresh shrimp. Cook about five minutes, and then blitz in a blender. Return to heat, adjust seasoning (might need more lemon juice), and serve with chopped chives.

As you can see, endless possibility. 😀

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