Cream of Mushroom Soup
This Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe is a crowd pleaser in our house, satisfying both the vegetarians and the omnivores so I often make a big pot of it in the fall and winter when we are all together. I adapted the recipe from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home: Everyday Recipes You’ll Make Over and Over Again (all too true) and the secret to its delicious mushroom flavor lies in the mushroom stock.
Pictured above are the simple ingredients. I use fresh portabellas, creminis ( or baby bellas), and shiitake mushrooms for this soup but you could use any combination of mushrooms that you like. The mushroom purveyor at my market threw in the long stemmed Shimeji mushrooms when I told him what I was making, because he said they are very flavorful. (It’s good to be friendly with the mushroom guy.)
For the stock, the mushroom stems are first removed from the mushroom caps. Then, the stems are simmered in a stock pot for 30 minutes with some roughly chopped aromatic vegetables and thyme to make the mushroom broth for the soup. After simmering, simply strain the broth and discard the vegetables.
Another thing I love about this soup is that it has leeks, which add great flavor and texture. The leeks and mushroom caps are cooked in some butter and olive oil, before adding the mushroom stock and smoothing it all out with cream.
This soup is delicious as a simple meal with some french bread and a green salad, or as a starter for a special dinner. The recipe below makes about 10-12 servings. Since the flavor only gets better and it reheats wonderfully, I made this pot a day ahead of our family gathering. It really paid off when the weekend came and we got busier as the temperatures outside got colder! The recipe below can be halved if you aren’t looking to serve a crowd or serve it more than once.
Winter is just getting started, so let’s get Fungi and make some soup.
- 10 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms
- 10 ounces fresh portobello mushrooms
- 10 ounces fresh cremini (or porcini) mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons good olive oil
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
- 2 chopped yellow onions
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme plus 2 teaspoons minced thyme leaves, divided
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 cups chopped leeks, white and light green parts (4 leeks)
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry paper towel. Don't wash them! Separate the stems and coarsely chop the stems. Slice the mushroom caps 1/4-inch thick and, if they are big, cut them into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.
- To make the stock, heat the olive oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a large pot. Add the chopped mushroom stems, the onions, carrots, the sprigs of thyme, 2 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add 12 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes. Strain, reserving the liquid. You should have about 9 cups of stock. If not, add some water.
- Meanwhile, in another large pot, heat the remaining 1/2 pound of butter and add the leeks. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes, until the leeks begin to brown. Add the sliced mushroom caps and cook for 10 minutes, or until they are browned and tender. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the mushroom stock, and thoroughly mix, scraping the bottom of the pot. Add minced thyme leaves, 3 teaspoons salt, and 2 teaspoons pepper and bring to a boil, . Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the half-and-half, cream, and parsley, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and heat through but do not boil. Serve hot.