There was something about this cooler than normal August day that had me in a soup mood. Not just any soup, but something rich and creamy, easy to prepare, and of course delicious. My taste buds went straight to Cream of Mushroom.
Like most people that grew up in the 70’s and 80’s, my only experience with Cream of Mushroom soup, came from a red and white labeled can. Add milk, stir until hot and bubbly.
When I thought about it, it really would be pretty elementary in making… a little flour, some stock, and a bunch of different mushrooms. So off to find the fungi to quench my soup craving.
I wanted mushrooms other than the standard white button. Mushrooms with deeper flavors, and different textures. My choices were the small brown baby portobellos or crimini mushrooms, the meaty texture from the Shiitake mushroom, and the plump juicy (oyster like flavor) Oyster mushroom. When making your soup by no means do you have to follow my lead... If all you can find or all you enjoy is one mushroom over another then please use what you will. Your soup, your mushrooms.
Oh, and another thing: This soup can be made vegetarian-friendly as well. Substitute the chicken stock and heavy cream for vegetable stock and organic soy milk. Adjust measurements and seasonings as needed.
For The Cream Of Mushroom Soup makes 4 small servings or 2 large
1 pound mixed mushrooms. I used Crimini, Shiitake, and Oyster mushrooms
1 large shallot diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, smashed and minced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoons grapeseed oil
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
1 stem fresh Thyme
3 tablespoons flour
2 cups unsalted chicken stock (plus extra if needed)
4 ounces ( 1/2 cup) heavy whipping cream (if you’re feeling extra naughty add Crème Fraîche)
- Begin by preparing your mushrooms. What ever mushroom you choose to use, simply while them off with a wet paper towel, or rinse lightly under cold water and pat dry. If using Shiitake, remove the stems and slice the caps into strips. Button type mushrooms remove the stems and chop then slice the caps. With larger oyster mushrooms, I trimmed the tougher bottoms of the stems and discarded. Then chopped the remaining stem, and cut the caps in half.
- In a large, high sided skillet or dutch oven, begin to melt the butter. To that add the grapeseed oil (you may substitute with olive oil). By adding the oil you are increasing the smoke point of the butter so it doesn't brown as quickly. Start adding your sliced mushroom caps to brown. I always brown my mushrooms first... it really brings out the flavor. Once the sliced caps are nice and golden, add the chopped stems and brown.
- Add the chopped shallot, minced garlic, and sauté the mushrooms until tender. Season everything with a good pinch or two of Cook’s Line Seasoning or salt and pepper to taste, followed up with a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg. Mushrooms love nutmeg and I think it really brings out the flavors.
- Now, I’m going to throw a French culinary term at you, and it is Singer. No not like the sewing machine but the French pronunciation “San-Jeh”. It means to dust the top of something cooking in fat with flour. This is where you sprinkle in the flour on top of the sautéed mushrooms and shallots. In essence, what you are doing is making a roux. Mix in the flour and cook the mixture as you would a roux.
- Pour in the two cups of chicken stock and mix everything together. Add the stem of fresh thyme and heat to a thickened simmer. Cover and lightly simmer for ten minutes. Add more chicken stock if the soup is getting too thick. Reduce the heat and pour in the heavy whipping cream. Stir to combine, and cover to keep your soup warm until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, remove and discard the thyme stem. Pour the soup into a taurine, or ladle into warmed individual bowls. Top with pan fried croutons.
For The Pan Fried Croutons
4 thick slices of rustic artisanal bread of your choosing, sliced, stacked, and cut into cubes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
pinch of In the Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or salt and black pepper
1 large fresh clove of garlic, smashed and minced
In a cast iron pan or large skillet, begin melting and heating you butter and oil. Once the bubbles from the butter have subsided add the minced fresh garlic and mix in. Follow that up with the cubed bread. Sprinkle the tops with Cook’s Line Seasoning or salt and black pepper. Toss and coat the bread in the pan and gently fry the croutons until golden brown.