RECIPE: Winter-defeating cream of mushroom soup

Fortify yourself against winter's chill with this creamy fresh mushroom soup. Photo: Amelia Ames

PROVO, UT, January 4, 2013 – When you get home from work, after you have peeled off your snow boots and multiple layers of weatherproof clothing, do you dream of soup? What about a dreamy creamy steamy velvety mushroom soup?

Although much of the country lies locked in winter’s icy grip pummeled by nature’s snowy violence, you can make a soothing warming soup to fight off the winter chill.

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Mixed fresh mushrooms /Amelia Ames

Fresh beautiful produce is hard to come by mid-January. Mushrooms never cared much for the sun anyway and right now mushrooms are looking gorgeous. In this recipe you can combine any varieties you would like.

Adjust the ingredients to suit your tastes. Make it vegetarian by using vegetable broth or nondairy and vegan by using a cream substitute.

A few things to think about when making cream of mushroom soup: Darker mushrooms such as cremini, portabella, shitake, and oyster will make for a more grey soup. Some people will not be as keen on grey. All mushrooms turn greyish when cooked and white button mushrooms stay whiter than other varieties, but other varieties add more flavors and depth.

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This soup can be pureed or not pureed at all depending on what you prefer. Chives sprinkled on top are an incredible flavor enhancement and a vivid pop of color in an otherwise wintery looking soup.

Finely chopped green onion tops can be substituted for the chives. Grated parmesan or reserved sautéed mushrooms are also great garnish choices.

Serve this soup with crusty bread for dunking and sopping up every last delicious winter-defeating drop.  

Cream of Mushroom Soup

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2 tablespoons butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 ½ pounds fresh mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

1 cup heavy cream

4 tablespoons sherry or apple cider

Salt and pepper to taste

Chives to garnish

In a large soup pot over medium heat, sauté onions in butter until soft. Do not brown the onions. Add mushrooms and sauté for 5 minutes. 

Add salt, pepper, broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to low and cook covered for 30 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove about 1 cup of mushrooms if you would like some mushroom pieces in the final soup. 

Stir in cream. Puree remaining soup in batches in a blender until velvety smooth. Make sure it is very smooth or the texture will be off. Stir in the reserved mushrooms and sherry. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Heat through, garnish and serve. 

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Amelia Ames

Amelia Ames is a food writer and reviewer for Communities @Washington Times.  Her column Kitchen Journeys seeks to find the best in food, and those that prepare it for us.  Read more of her recipes, reviews and news at Gastronomy Girl. She received a B.S. in Zoology-Entomology from Brigham Young University.

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