Cream of Mushroom Soup

Reader Contribution by Sue Van Slooten
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This winter I find I have been making a lot of soup for dinner. Soup is very satisfying, and when served with a salad and bread, creates a healthy meal. I had read where you take a variety of mushrooms, and create a Cream of Mushroom soup with them. Of course, by the time I actually decided to try this, I couldn’t find the original recipe, after having bought a mixture of so-called wild mushrooms in a package. There were cremini, oyster, king, but in reality, any mushroom is fine. So then started the hunt for a good recipe.

I turned to an ancient set of cookbooks given to my by my mother when I was first married, called the Doubleday Cookbook by Jean Anderson and Elaine Hanna, but in reality is a two book set. Just about anything you could ever ask for is in this two volume set. I’ve never seen it for sale anywhere, and suspect my mother got them through one of the popular book clubs available at the time. Of course, there was a recipe for “Deluxe Cream of Mushroom Soup,” with the recipe itself being the essence of ease. Believe me, after trying this, you will never open a can of Campbell’s again. Here’s what the company of Anderson and Hanna came up with, with embellishments by Sue.

(Anderson’s and Hanna’s) Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe

¾ lb of mushrooms, wiped clean and minced (feel free to use 1 lb, I did)
2 tbsp butter (no substitute)
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 ½ cups chicken broth, preferably homemade. A veggie broth can also be used.
1½ cups light cream (or half and half)
½ tsp salt or to taste
1/8 tsp white pepper
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 tbsp sherry (I think it adds a good flavor), but optional

I ran the mushrooms through the food processor first, but feel free to chop by hand. Saute the mushrooms in a large saucepan with the butter until soft. Blend in your cornstarch, add broth, and heat, stirring 3-4 minutes. Cover and simmer 12-15 minutes on the lowest heat, stirring occasionally. Puree half the mixture in a blender, etc., I used the food processor again. Return to the pan to heat. Add your remaining ingredients and heat ‘til warm. I splashed in some sherry, but make sure to use a good quality sherry, as cooking sherry will have too much salt.

Serve this with a crusty bread and a green salad, voila! Dinner is served.

The authors also suggest a more low cal version, eliminating the butter and cornstarch, and substituting the cream with skim milk. I can’t vouch for this, but if you’re watching your waistline, you might want to try it. You’d have to eliminate the sherry too.