If you have fond memories of Cream of Mushroom soup from the can like I do, you will enjoy this soup—even more so than the canned, whose appeal is largely due to its high salt content. This recipe leaves out the salt but not the flavor.
Mushrooms are one of my favorite foods, and there are so many different kinds. I have noted the most commonly used mushrooms below, along with photos and explanations for each.
No matter what type of mushrooms you use for this soup, you will need about three-quarters of a pound. Mushrooms are used twice in this recipe: in the creamy soup base you’ll use about 1/3 of your mushrooms (step 1), and the remaining 2/3 are to be left diced or sliced (step 3).
Mushrooms vary greatly in size. I have used cremini and white mushrooms in this recipe, which are typically about 1 and a 1/2 inches wide at the cap. If your mushrooms are on the small side, use a few more; if they are rather large, you can use a few less. If you’re a mushroom fanatic, you can, of course, add more than what I have listed here.
1/2 to 1 cup water, for sauteing
1 yellow onion, diced
4 cups water
4-6 mushrooms, diced or sliced
2 large Russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small yam or sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 teaspoons dried herb blend (like an Italian blend or Herbs de Provence)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup water
10-12 mushrooms, diced or sliced
1 cup non-dairy milk (I like unsweetened almond)
1. Saute the onion, using a tablespoon or two of water for 1-2 minutes until soft and translucent, adding a little water as needed to prevent sticking. Add the 4 cups water, mushrooms, potatoes, yams or sweet potatoes, celery, and herbs and spices, and cook at a low boil until the potatoes are very soft, about 10-15 minutes.
2. Add one cup of water, and blend everything until smooth, or nearly smooth (some small chunks are fine) in the pot with a hand-held immersion blender. You can also use a regular blender by transferring the soup (in two batches) to your blender, and then pouring it back into the pot.
3. Once all the soup has been blended and is in the pot, add the remaining sliced or diced mushrooms and cook on low for 15-20 minutes until the mushrooms are softened, stirring occasionally. Remove the soup pot from the heat and stir in the non-dairy milk. Serve immediately.
Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 6-8 (makes 10 cups of soup)
Mushrooms: Any kind of edible mushrooms may be used in this soup (see below). White and cremini are easy to find in markets, and they are the most inexpensive. You can use all the same type of mushroom or mix them up.
Potatoes: If you use another type of white potato, like Yukon Gold, you may want to use 4-5 of them since they are smaller than Russets typically. The small yam or sweet potato should measure about 1-1/2 cups diced.
Add vegetables: Feel free to add other chopped veggies (in step 3), such as celery, carrots, zucchini, diced winter squash (butternut, kabocha, delicata, etc.), and/or greens cut up into bite-size pieces (like kale, chard, collard greens).
Add some whole grains: Adding about a cup of cooked grains makes an excellent addition to this soup. I love to add cooked pearled barley but you can also add brown rice, or any cooked grain that you like.
Above: White and cremini are the most commonly used mushrooms in the U.S. followed by the portabella and shiitake.
COMMONLY USED MUSHROOMS
White mushrooms range in size from tiny—called button, which are harvested when young and have the mildest flavor—to jumbo, which can be stuffed and baked. Creamy white to pale tan, they have a firm texture and a delicate flavor.
Cremini mushrooms are similar to white mushrooms but with a firmer texture and deeper flavor. Creminis are immature Portobello mushrooms. The button-like caps range from pale tan to rich brown. The stems are edible.
Portabellas have short, fat stems with a large, dark brown cap (up to 6 inches across), with a firm white flesh that has a steak-like texture, which is why they are often used in place of hamburger patties.
Shiitakes are tan to deep brown in color with spongy umbrella-looking caps. The flesh is aromatic, and tastes slightly smoky. They are best eaten cooked; the stems are tough, so are not typically eaten, but instead are used for soup stock.
Above: These mushrooms are a little more exotic but stil popular. They are sold in most markets, and are typically more expensive than the above commonly used mushrooms.
OTHER POPULAR MUSHROOMS
Chanterelles range from yellow, orange, and brown to pale white or black. The funnel-shaped caps have wrinkles instead of gills on the underside. They should be washed carefully before using.
Enoki mushrooms have long, slender stems with small, stubby caps. They have a crunchy texture and slightly fruity flavor; a very unique mushroom.
Oyster mushrooms are velvety and trumpet-shaped, and have delicate brown, gray, or reddish caps on gray-white stems. They have a peppery flavor that becomes very mild when cooked. Young, small oysters are considered the best.
Trumpet mushrooms are the largest of the oyster mushrooms, and are also known as erengi, King trumpet, French horn, or King oyster. They have thick, meaty, white stems with small, light brown caps.
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