The Best EVER Mushroom Soup
Mushroom soup: love it or hate it. Me? LOVE IT!!!
So I just had a hankering. Did you ever have a hankering?
Something that happened today–I can’t even remember what it was–that reminded me of growing up. I got to thinking about some memories of when I was a kid in Philly. Ball in the street, summer or winter, sledding on the Weiner’s hill behind the house, smoking cigarettes in my friend’s garage–way too young. And soup. My Mom always had soup ready to eat.
Now I have to go on record here with full disclosure–my Mom was a lousy cook–until, that is, until she started taking cooking classes after I left the house; she couldn’t take classes when I was growing up because I was a handful, and she never seemed to have time.
But soup? She could keep soup on the table. Campbell’s was always plentiful–tomato, chicken noodle, vegetable beef, cream of mushroom. Always cream of mushroom. It was a comfort food for me.
Those chefs at the Campbell’s Soup Company in Camden, NJ sure knew the way to my heart. And my Mom was surely smart enough to know when to open a can of soup.
When I went to work in the big kitchen in South Beach, what I remembered most was soup, and luckily enough, the market was legendary for its soups–they always had fifteen or twenty different soups in the display cases for your dining pleasure. Matzoh ball, three kinds of vegetable, red and white clam chowders–if you could suggest a soup they didn’t make they’d have it for sale within a week.
So I decided to make the soup (not sous) chef my best friend. I watched. I listened. I learned. And it became a specialty for me (have you had the chance to attend one of our (alas, late lamented) annual soup parties? Maybe some day we’ll revive the soup party. We’re working on ideas.
Anyhow, I digress.
Mushroom soup. I had a hankering. So I cruised the Internet for a mushroom soup that struck a chord. And I found one (actually, I found many, but I chose one to make that wasn’t too labor-intensive and would strike just the perfect note on a fall afternoon.
I massaged the recipe a bit–as I am wont to do–and came up with a luscious, creamy, dreamy chilly afternoon mushroom soup. Try this one at home…
- 1 large white onion – diced
- 2 8-ounce packages white button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 1 8-ounce package baby portabello mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 10 stalks fresh thyme – leaves removed
- 2 cups vegetable broth–organic if you have it
- 1 tbs. AP or tapioca flour or potato starch – don’t use corn starch here
- 1 cup milk – if you want it vegan use almond, soy, or coconut milk
- 1 15-ounce can white beans
- 1 dried bay leaf
- 1/2 tbs. fish sauce, or liquid aminos if you want it vegan
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- freshly ground white and black pepper
- In a large saucepan, over medium heat, add the diced onions. Allow to sweat while slicing the mushrooms. About 5-7 minutes.
- Move onions to the sides of the saucepan and add mushrooms, allow to cook 5 minutes uncovered.
- Stir the onions and mushrooms together. Add fresh thyme and allow to continue to cook, at least 10 minutes.
- You will notice a substantial amount of water has come out of the mushrooms, and they are reduced in volume by half.
- Add the bay leaf, the salt and the liquid aminos to the mushrooms
- Place the white beans and broth in a blender and liquefy the beans. Add the bean/broth and the milk to the mushrooms. Stir to mix
- Whisk the flour or potato starch into 1/2 cup cold water to completely dissolve the starch. Slowly add the starch slurry to the soup, stirring as you do. Mix well to combine the ingredients
- Reduce to a slow simmer and cook for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and add freshly ground black pepper to taste.