From Vegan to Full Fat, this Savory Soup Can be Made Exactly How You Like It!
On a chilly winter night, hot soup is always welcome, and after the indulgences of the holidays, something healthy is a welcome delight. Whether a hearty stew or light broth, soups warm both the body and soul, often bringing memories along with the flavor. I can’t make corn chowder or pea soup without thinking of my childhood, and all the times we sat around our family table slurping soup and eating flaky hot biscuits. So much of food is connected to our lives and memories.
The Amazing Flexible Soup
We love the earthiness of mushroom soup, as well as the health benefits, and it can be tailored to any dietary requirement. I don’t thicken soups like this with a roux, so gluten is never a consideration here. There are a dozen non-dairy alternatives you can use if you want the soup creamed, or you can just stick with the basic soup, puréed or not. You can’t make a mistake here, all the versions are absolutely delicious!
Now, all you need are some biscuits to complete the meal!
Savory Mushroom Soup – Your Way
6 cups of *mushroom stock or water
1 ounce dried mushrooms (if using just water)
1 tbsp. canola or vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stalk of celery, minced
1 lb. fresh mushrooms of choice, wild if possible, diced
1 bay leaf
1 star anise
2 sprigs of fresh thyme or 1/2 tsp. dried
1/2 tsp. cayenne, plus salt and pepper
Bring the water or stock to a simmer. Add the dried mushrooms if you are just using water. Set aside.
In a large stockpot, sauté the onion, celery, and garlic in the oil until soft, but not browned. Add the mushrooms, bay leaf, star anise, thyme, cayenne, salt, and pepper, then add the mushroom stock or water with any dried mushrooms.
Bring the whole thing to a boil, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 30 minutes, fish out the bay leaf and anise, then decide how you want to serve your soup; it’s all up to you:
Mushroom Soup in Clear Broth: Serve as is! You are done. You can go to the fuss of clarifying the broth fully, but you’ll be taking away flavor and that is not an even trade in my book. This is the soup I crave right now, everything that is good for me with a pure mushroom flavor.
Puréed Mushroom Soup: This “creamed” soup uses no cream or white of any type. Just put the whole thing through a food mill, food processor, or blender to the consistency you like. It will “cream” naturally. Top with a little butter or butter substitute, and perhaps some parsley or tarragon. I didn’t wait to make this one pretty, I was too hungry…
“Cream” of Mushroom Soup: You can use any number of milk or cream substitutes to add a lovely flavor and creaminess. To the puréed soup (reserve some for garnish if you like) add as much regular or lite coconut milk, soy, almond, or rice milk, or non-fat half-and-half. Taste as you add until it is where you like it. With full-fat coconut milk, you get a subtle flavor of coconut, but it is not overpowering. With the lite, you get a creaminess but barely detectable coconut flavor. The photo is using the lite coconut milk, my preferred way to eat a cream of mushroom soup. Garnish with reserved mushrooms, or perhaps some crispy shallots.
Cream of Mushroom Soup: The decadent delight. After puréeing the mushrooms (reserve some for garnish if you like) use how much you desire of heavy or light cream, or half-and-half. Start with a half-cup and adjust for your taste. The photo uses light cream. Garnish with reserved mushrooms, or even a dollop of homemade crème fraîche (my recipe here) since this dish is not about the diet.
*I keep homemade mushroom stock in my freezer. Recipe here.
© Copyright 2019 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read