Pandemic Pantry: Cream of Mushroom Soup

Autumn is a great season for soups. This mild recipe isn’t as rich as a standard cream of mushroom soup, but it also offers some more options if your pantry is running a bit low on ingredients.

This soup derives much of its “creaminess” from the potato and onions, so if you’re running out of half and half or milk, you can substitute more water. As long as you pay attention to your spices, this soup has great flexibility.

To make cream of mushroom soup you will need the following ingredients and equipment:

  • Five to eight ounces cremini or shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • Three yellow onions, diced
  • One yellow potato, shredded
  • One and a half cups warm water
  • One and one third cups half and half
  • Six Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • A large Dutch oven or saucepan
  • A sauté pan
  • An immersion blender

You’ll also need spices:

  • Two Tablespoons of your favorite mild curry powder OR:
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Fenugreek, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • Cinnamon, to taste
  • 1/2 Tablespoon ground mustard
  • Mace, to taste
  • Cardamom, to taste
  • Finely-ground black pepper, to taste

Procedure:

In your Dutch oven, melt four Tablespoons of the butter and add the diced onions and shredded potato. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the mixture has just started to caramelise.

While the onions and potato are cooking, melt the remaining two Tablespoons of butter in your sauté pan and add the sliced mushrooms. Sauté gently on low heat until the mushrooms have begun to sweat, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Add the warm water to the onions and potato and stir until incorporated. With your immersion blender, process the mixture thoroughly until only small bits remain. The soup broth should already look a bit cloudy and the mixture should taste mild and slightly sweet.

Add the mushrooms and the spices to your soup and stir gently to incorporate. Taste the soup and adjust your spice mix accordingly if necessary. Add the half and half, and slowly bring the soup back up to temperature, stirring occasionally. Serve immediately.

Cooking Notes:

Watch your cooking temperature! Don’t let this soup boil, especially after you’ve added the half and half, or it won’t taste as creamy.

If you don’t have half and half, you can use milk. If you’d prefer a creamier soup, you can use heavy cream.

If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can achieve the same effect by transferring your butter, onion and potato mixture into a food processor and blitzing thoroughly, before putting the mixture back into the Dutch oven and adding the water.

Your soup can be stored for up to five days in the refrigerator.

This recipe serves 6-8, and goes well with a nice slice of crusty bread, or even a grilled cheese sandwich.

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