Is it just too dang cold to go outside wherever you are? Me too.
I won’t tell you where I am because then you would know that I am a big baby. I’ve seen the news; I know that many of you have been snowed in something terrible. It’s been horrible out there in so many places, and I think the best thing you could do for yourself at this point is make soup.
This soup is one you can make with your eyes closed and your hands tied behind your back so if you have gotten yourself in an unusual fix such as that then this is the soup for you.
This lick-the-bowl-clean mushroom soup is memorable. I know, it looks kind of hideous. Trust me, it was no picnic to photograph. Mushroom soup is no beauty unlike my Cover Girl Beet Salad. It’s more akin to the Beast than anything else, but when you dive in with your spoon and take a taste, you will know that its ugliness lies solely on the outside.
It tastes like a walk in the woods after a rainy day or a night by the fireplace of a rustic, log cabin. It’s cozy, rich, creamy and absolutely the most perfect answer to a night in. It can stand alone or go along side your favorite grilled cheese sandwich or panini.
As if flavor isn’t enough to sell you on this earthy mushroom soup, its ease of preparation should cinch the deal. It’s so simple it’s embarrassing, but what girl doesn’t need a super simple soup in her repertoire?
I’m afraid I must confess that I am a mushroom washer though. I know that is a culinary faux pas and mushrooms are to be gently brushed with a mushroom brush or simply wiped off with a towel. But I am a bit of a germ-phobe on any given day, and physically seeing dirt on my mushrooms is an immediate signal to use water.
Don’t worry, I just give them a gentle rinse and pat them dry with a paper towel so they don’t get soggy, and then I don’t have to narrow my eyes and speculate if the cracked pepper is really a speck of dirt. That makes me happy.
If you make this soup, I have a hunch that you will be happy too, and then everyone is happy, happy…even if it’s flippin’ freezing out there! Oh—you may want to have on hand a good loaf of crusty bread as well; it couldn’t hurt, could it?
Creamy Mushroom Soup
Makes four large bowls
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c. shallots, peeled and minced
3 T. olive oil
4 T. unsalted butter
1 lb white button mushrooms, stems removed
1 1/2 T. fresh time or 2 t. dried thyme
1/2 lb (1 small package) of either mini portobellos, crimini or shitakes
1/2- 3/4 t. freshly ground pepper to taste
3/4- 1 t. salt to taste
3 T. all purpose flour
3 1/2 c. of either chicken broth, no-chicken broth or mild vegetable broth if you would like it to be vegetarian.
1 c. whole milk
Fancy, schmancy garnishes: Frozen puff pastry defrosted and ready to be cut with tiny cookie cutters
sprigs of thyme
Ok…I first de-stem my mushrooms and rinse and pat them dry and rub off any left on dirt. If you would rather just brush or wipe your mushrooms clean, be my guest, but that kind of risk-taking is just not for me.
Chop your peeled shallots and garlic in the food processor or chop finely by hand. Remove from the bowl and reserve. Mince your thyme by hand. Set aside both the chopped shallots and the thyme.
Clean and de-stem your button mushrooms. Throw 1/2 of your button mushrooms in your food processor or chop by hand. You want the mushrooms chopped into bits (see photo above of chopped mushrooms). Remove the chopped mushrooms from the bowl and finish off the chopping of the second half of your button mushrooms in the food processor. Go ahead and add half of the portobellos to your food processor as well. Chop together.
Put the olive oil and butter in a large pot or stockpot over a medium heat. Stir so you grease the entire pot and the butter gets dispersed. Once the butter has melted, add your shallots and saute until soft (about 3 minutes). Add your thyme and saute thyme as well. Add you flour and saute for a minute. Finally, dump all of your chopped mushrooms into the pot and stir frequently so that all of the mushrooms get cooked evenly. Cook for about 5 minutes. Pour in the soup stock, stir and bring to a low simmer over a medium heat for 15 minutes. Make sure when you stir, to scrape the bottom of the pot so that all the nice stuck on bits get worked into your soup. Those are tasty.
Now either use an immersion blender (best tool ever) to puree your soup or pour your soup in batches into a blender and puree. SAFETY FIRST: Pour small batches of the HOT soup into the blender and CLOSE THE BLENDER TIGHTLY, but leave the middle little cap OPEN and use a towel folded over to cover the opening. You don’t want to splatter hot soup on your face but you don’t want a mini explosion either. Letting air out of the blender by keeping the middle portion open is key to not having an explosion.
Once the soup is entirely puree’d, pour the soup back into the stock pot and add the milk. Stir over a low heat. While your soup is heating back up, slice the reserved portabellos and saute with 1 tablespoon of butter in a small saute pan. Use these as garnish in each bowl of soup with a small sprig of thyme.
If you wish to fancy up your soup for company, cut small cookie cutter shapes (stars or such) out of defrosted puff pastry and bake according to package instructions. Usually it will be about 10 minutes at 350 degrees. If I were you, I would do this while my soup was simmering so that they are ready when the soup is done.
Sprinkle the puff pastry shapes, sliced mushrooms and sprig of thyme atop the soup for finesse.
January 2, 2011 at 9:12 pm
I just can’t believe that it is so cold over there..I won’t say where…I am your regular follower so I pay attention:)))
Anyhow…I love, love mushroom soup..one of my favorite food!!! You did amazing job, looks fabulous!!
January 3, 2011 at 7:04 am
Thanks for stopping by and for sympathizing with the coldness “here”. I appreciate you not laughing out loud and calling me names.
January 2, 2011 at 10:43 pm
Sounds like something that would definitely hit the spot in this cold, rainy weather!! Umm! Umm! Good!!
January 3, 2011 at 6:59 am
I can bring your some! Good luck today.
January 3, 2011 at 1:52 am
“No picnic to photograph.” Tell me about it. Mushrooms are my nightmare. Mushrooms and chicken livers! But the soup looks scrumptious. Perfect for the too-cold-to-go-out-in weather in… haha. Los Angeles.
Brrr! I’m serious. It’s way too cold. This soup sounds perfect.
Thanks for stopping by my site… you’ve got a great blog here.
January 3, 2011 at 6:45 am
Angela, —Thanks for the nice comments and for stopping by. Stay warm and good luck on your road trip. Your Coq Au Vin looks amazing on your blog!
January 3, 2011 at 10:46 am
OMNOMNOMNOM! I love mushroom soup! Actually, it looks really good with that little biscut thing in top.
January 3, 2011 at 10:59 am
Glad you like it. It’s just pop n’ fresh crescent roll sheet dough that I stamped with cookie cutters. I didn’t have puff pastry and I wanted to get a good picture. It was Zoie’s idea! 🙂
January 3, 2011 at 11:29 am
I agree with everyone else, this soup looks great! I’m not necessarily snowed in either, but it’s coooolldd and I don’t like the cold. I think just being cold is a good enough reason to stay inside with warm socks and a blanket and nice hot bowl of soup!
By the way, Alton Brown recommends a quick rinse of mushrooms and patting them dry so I think you’re ok with the rinsing thing 🙂
January 3, 2011 at 11:56 am
Yay! Alton approved. I like the sound of that.
January 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm
Soup sounds like a good thing today. I’m wearing my wool ski socks to keep warm! Enjoy the soup 🙂
January 3, 2011 at 2:27 pm
Ooo thanks for the recipe! This soup looks delish! Thankfully we don’t have snow anymore! But it is COLD!!
January 3, 2011 at 4:49 pm
Sorry that it’s so cold there. It’s not bad here (for Canada) but soup is welcome any time!
January 3, 2011 at 7:11 pm
This so going on my list of things to cook… soon! I LOVE mushrooms!
January 3, 2011 at 9:05 pm
This morning, as I was standing outside in the cold and rain waiting for a bus that was 20 minutes late, I could have used a thermos full of this soup! I love the little pastry star too.
January 3, 2011 at 10:38 pm
Geni, this mushroom soup is just perfect for this cold weather…very tasty and comforting…beautifully presented. Happy 2011!
January 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm
This sounds totally yummy! I love mushrooms and I love soup. This must be a safe bet to make – even though I am a big risk taker and don´t rinse my mushrooms… hahaha 😉
You did a swell job photographing, cause it looks good too!
January 5, 2011 at 5:29 am
oh that soup looks amazing!
January 5, 2011 at 8:29 am
I am with you, Geni, I am in an area where there’s no snow to be found but I am still a wuss about the cold weather. Although I know it could be worse. Your soup looks perfect for a wintertime shut-in. 😉 Once again, I hate the fact that my husband hates mushrooms so much! Grrrr!
January 5, 2011 at 9:54 am
oh my goodness this soup looks so lovely Geni!! i love mushroon soup and this recipe sounds just heavenly!! thank you so much for sharing this with us. i think im going to make this for my dad pretty soon. hope you’re having a great day and happy new year to you and your family. and as always i truly appreciate your kind comments on my blog. x
January 5, 2011 at 11:10 am
Thanks everyone for all your nice comments. Who knew this ugly but delicious soup would be such a hit?! 🙂
January 6, 2011 at 3:15 am
After never eating mushrooms as a child, it is now one of my favorite foods!
I love the title of you soup, it looks delicious 🙂
January 6, 2011 at 12:38 pm
i’m pretty sure it’s soup season everywhere in the northern hemisphere so people of all weather should feel free to join in! Love the sound of this.
January 6, 2011 at 3:31 pm
MMMMMMMMMM Mushrooms!!! Looks very very good!
January 7, 2011 at 1:30 pm
Hi, this is the best mushroom soup ever. Thanks for all your work and sharing.
July 24, 2011 at 7:51 pm
Looks so yummy and comforting!