Cream of Mushroom Holiday Soup

I was raised in the days of Campbell Soups: chicken noodle, alphabet soup, hearty chicken, and sometimes tomato soup. Oh and the dreadful cream of mushroom soup.

After a couple of my tantrums Mom only used the mushroom stuff in casseroles and probably didn’t tell us. Definitely not the days of full disclosure.

After getting caught putting those cooked mushrooms in my pocket until I had a chance to go to the bathroom, or having the mushrooms discovered in my pockets in the laundry, I can’t really remember which, Mom and Dad made sure I ate them thereafter.

Decades went by and I learned to saute mushrooms to serve alongside steak, I even learned that canned mushrooms weren’t the best for this.

Little by little this fungus made it’s way into my daily cooking, and if the kids wouldn’t eat them, then all the more for me. The only mushrooms I haven’t come to terms with are dried ones, usually a morel. That’s because they are always tough. It must be something I am doing wrong, but who cares as long as fresh ones are available.

Years ago, and that is what this story is about, I had made a Costco run, and if you don’t know about Costco then think of Sam’s Club. Anyway, I had purchased a container (1 pound) of Chanterells and a container of Criminos (baby portobellos), if you are an A personality, you can say portabella) (2 pounds) for upcoming Thanksgiving.

Well we decided to have Thanksgiving on an island instead of home and I had 3 pounds of mushrooms that would have probably grown more fungus while we where away. Oh, what to do?

I had never made mushroom soup before, so I read a dozen recipes on the Internet to get a few ideas. An hour later we sat down to one of the finest dishes we had ever eaten let alone made. And we froze a couple of quarts for when we returned, that is, if we returned.

I know this is titled Holiday Soup and that’s because after eating our delicious bowls of creamed mushroom soup, we went to Orcas Island in the San Juan’s and had a 9 month holiday. We did sneak back to eat those other quarts of soup in the freezer, and to pack.

My recipe for cream of mushroom soup is here. Try it, you might like where it takes you.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup, Oh Yeah

Years ago I had to cook it, or throw it out. We where leaving town for the weekend and some how I had 3 pounds of mushrooms in the fridge.  1 pound chanterelles and 2 pounds  baby portabellas. This was the beginning of my love affair with fungi.

This is a large recipe so have some freezer space available, And, yes, this freezes wonderfully.

Start with a couple of coarse chopped yellow onions sauteed  till caramelized. Deglaze the onions with half a cup of white wine. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper and then add the mushrooms, cover and simmer till the mushrooms have given up their moisture.

The onions and mushrooms have all been coarsely chopped, we want onions and mushrooms to break down and release their moisture, we don’t want to cook away the liquid.

   

Add 2 quarts of beef or bone broth, homemade is the best and homemade is also very healthy for you. Pour in the rest of that bottle of white wine plus some sage and simmer for about 10 minutes or so.

Be careful about the sage as to not overpower the delicate taste of the mushrooms. This should be a lightly seasoned dish and you can always add more. We grow our own sage and replace the container every year, so our sage would have considerably more flavor then that 8 year old bottle in your spice rack.

Since this is CREAM of mushroom soup, you need to add a thickener, for the richest taste and consistency add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. Or substitute 2 cups of Greek yogurt.

Run through your blender for a very smooth soup, or use the boat motor if you like it a little chunky, your choice.

At this point, we do a final seasoning to taste, ladle it into our dishes, and enjoy something that tastes like it took hours to make.

If serving for a special occasion, garnish with a few thin slices of mushroom and a swirl of cream on top.

 

 

 

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