Cream of Mushroom Soup

January 18, 2009 · 3 comments

First things first: my apologies if you’ve tried to visit sometime in the past few days, and had to swallow an error message. My server was a bit under-the-weather, but after a call to the doc, is now feeling much better. Thanks for your patience. What follows is the post I was working on when it all crashed down.

Way back when, I thought all soup came from a can with a red logo and a little gold seal in the middle. You know, the one immortalized by Andy Warhol. Back in those days, about the only variety I would eat was Cream of Mushroom.

Earlier this week, I opened my refrigerator to fix lunch for the kids, and saw half a container of sliced mushrooms, looking like their glory days had passed. None of my dinner plans this week would benefit from the addition of over-oxidized mushrooms, so my head began churning for a plan while I made sandwiches.

I remembered landing briefly on a random food blog post last week, and reading about using old mushrooms to make soup. So while I cut up carrots and apples for the young ones, I flipped through The Joy of Cooking, in search of direction. I only had about 4 ounces of mushrooms, so I couldn’t make the blogged version, inspired by one of Anthony Bourdain’s creations. My childhood can-o’-dinner-love came back in a flash; I scanned the recipe for Cream of Mushroom soup, and realized that if I halved it, I could pull it off in about 20 minutes.

I did, and it was the soup I never had. Cream of Mushroom, before Campbell’s hijacked it. I ate it for two consecutive lunches, and planned to get a picture of it, but just couldn’t put the spoon down long enough to go get the camera.

This is an ideal time to thaw out one of the bags of chicken stock you made this week (insert emoticon wink) — I can’t imagine it would be nearly as good without it (but even with storebought broth, it would be much better than canned). I’ll write the recipe as I made it, amended from the same-titled recipe from The Joy of Cooking. It should double fine (in case you want to serve more than yourself for dinner), but if you have a copy of the cookbook, it wouldn’t hurt to go there.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp butter
  • 4 ounces mushrooms (about half a regular container), sliced
  • 1/4 onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp dry sherry (optional, but really adds flavor; I buy cheap dry sherry, and keep it way too long, but it’s nice to have on hand for times such as these)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 – 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme (if using dried, reduce to a 1/2 tsp)
  • 2 cups chicken stock (or Swanson low-sodium canned chicken broth)
  • 1/4 cup half-n-half
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, heat the oil and butter over medium heat until the foaming subsides (feel free to use all olive oil, or all butter). Sauté the mushrooms and onion until the mushrooms are wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the sherry, flour, and thyme. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan. Stir in your chicken stock gradually, add 1/4 tsp salt (omit if you’re using canned broth, or if your stock is already salted, and season to taste at the end). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer about 15 minutes. Stir in the half-n-half, taste for seasonings, and serve.

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