Many people associate cream of mushroom with Campbell’s-assisted casseroles.
I did not grow up with these, so got to discover them as an adult (along with butter and cream). But that handy concentrated glop, even diluted, is nothing like cream of mushroom from scratch. I even convinced Chris of this fact, with this recipe. It’s loosely adapted from 500 Greatest-Ever Vegetarian Recipes‘ wild mushroom soup.
1.5 lbs white button mushrooms (or baby Bella)
2-5 oz dried wild mushrooms (I used morrels)
2 medium sweet onions
4 Tbs. butter
4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 cups white wine
2 cups stock (veggie or chicken)
2/3 cups crema (or heavy cream)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp white pepper
Start dried mushrooms soaking in two cups warm water, keep covered for half an hour.
Roughly chop onions, fresh mushrooms and garlic and sauté in butter until tender. Add stock and wine and set to simmer. I recommend Meridian Chardonnay as an excellent and affordable table/cooking wine (thanks Uncle Peter!). Tie up fresh herbs with cotton twine and toss in the bundle. Reserve a bit for garnish.
By now the dried mushrooms should be soft enough to dice. Be sure to add the water they’ve been soaking in to the broth! Keep one or two aside for garnish.
Cover and simmer for half an hour. At this point, fish out the herb bundle (including bay leaf). Add the cream and stir.
Remove from heat, then blend. I love my immersion blender; if you have one scoop out a few cups for texture and blend the rest until smooth, then return the cups to the pot. If you don’t have an immersion blender, pour of 3/4 of the soup into a standing blender and blend until smooth, then return to the pot. You can add stock or cream if you want a thinner soup. Make sure it’s heated through, and make any last minute seasoning calls. Then garnish and serve immediately.
Great on it’s own, or with a simple veggie side, some crusty bread and soft cheese.
If you add Parmesan and reduce a bit on a low heat, this can become a lovely sauce for gnocchi or linguini. Toss in some green beans, chicken if you’re so inclined, and you have a great one-pot meal.