That is the perfect sound to go with this visual. I was looking down at this pot of soup last night and that word literally slipped out of my mouth. I did my best to dress it up for dinner – a smattering of sliced scallions along with a drizzle of cream…but once you’ve taken the first bite, all of those fancy baubles sink down into the bowl anyway, leaving you with a pool of greyish-brown liquid…I’m really selling this, yeah?
So the takeaway here is that mushroom soup, along with a lot of other foods that we eat this time of year, is not the Gal Gadot of meals. But just because it lacks the visual appeal of say one of those crazy pink dragonfruits that I’m not sure actually tastes all that good because, in all honestly I’ve never tried one, doesn’t mean it’s not robustly flavored, undeniably comforting, and totally worth the totally reasonable amount of time it takes to make.
This one is my riff on a recipe from Kenji Lopez-Alt of Serious Eats. Basically, sauté a lot of sliced mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter. Add salt and pepper, wait for the mushrooms to push out some slightly unappealing liquid and then keep cooking it until the liquid evaporates and the mushrooms start to brown. Then add chopped onion, a little flour, wine if you’ve got it (we did not), milk, and broth (or more water). I also added some white bean and rosemary dip that I had kicking around in the fridge, because waste sucks and protein rules. Simmer the whole thing for 20 minutes and then blitz it to your desired consistency using something akin to a blender.
Readjust the seasonings to your taste (I used some lemon juice and a little soy sauce) and dress it up with pretty things like – chives, parsley, a drizzle of cream, croutons etc. If however you’re into embracing the grey, you have nothing left to do except ladle into your favorite bowl or mug, find a spoon and perhaps a hunk of bread, and dive in. I applaud you in your simplicity and willingness to let soup be soup.
Then eat it and be really happy. But avoid instagramming it – #itneedsafilter
Creamy Mushroom Soup
Servings: 6 Time: 40 MINUTES Source: QUICK & EASY MUSHROOM SOUP FROM SERIOUS EATS; KENJI LOPEZ-ALT
My only real changes to the recipe were to substitute some water with the juice of half a lemon for the wine, because I didn’t have any on hand. Also, I’ve added a few extra seasonings at the tail end of cooking. I’ve omitted the white beans I mentioned above, but if you have a can lying around, just throw some or all of it (rinsed and drained) in just before the simmering step. Then continue as written. This is all to taste – so please do taste it, add an ingredient (salt, lemon, a touch of cream) judiciously, then stir and taste again. Just remember, you can always add more, but it’s really hard, or nearly impossible to take too much of something out.
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 pounds mixed mushrooms such as button, cremini, portabello, or shiitake, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1 cup dry sherry or white wine (I substituted some lemony water here)
1 cup milk
5 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock, or water
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs fresh thyme (I also didn’t have these, so if you don’t I think it’s ok to leave it out)
Squeeze of lemon juice (optional)
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce (optional – although I found it kind of necessary)
Sliced scallions, chives or parsley for serving (super optional)
Melt butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring frequently, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are well-browned, about 12 minutes total. Add onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add flour and stir to combine.
Add sherry or wine and cook until reduced by about half, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Add milk, chicken stock, bay leaves, and thyme sprigs and stir to combine. Bring to a bare simmer and cook for 20 minutes.
Using tongs, remove bay leaves and thyme. Blend soup with an immersion blender or in batches using a countertop blender. Season to taste with more salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice, or the soy sauce (if desired). Serve immediately, garnished with chopped herbs or scallions.