Updated: Jan 7
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Soups are a beautiful nourishing tradition - and this time of year they not only keep us warm but also well-nourished during the winter months with healthy fiber and a variety of nutrients. This recipe is one of my favorites - and is actually delish all year round!
Mushrooms, such as the portobellos in this recipe are sources of a very healthful and beneficial fungus that provide numerous important vitamins, minerals and enzymes and fiber.
Adding mushrooms to the diet in small amounts a few times per week has been shown to improve blood sugar balance and promote satiety, as well as helping to optimize weight and for those who are trying to add more protein, mushrooms provide your body with the amino acids to build cells, including your immune cells.
Not to mention that this recipe is plain delicious and something your whole family will enjoy! Cream of mushroom soup is a common ingredient in recipes as the cooler weather approaches. This healthy comfort food in a bowl deserves its place along with the casseroles such as green beans, stuffing, etc.
Real Cream of Mushroom Soup Stands Up
When it comes to my cooking, homemade meals are all made from scratch, and I mean that. When I came to the US, my mother-in-law passed along many recipes to me, the way her generation cooked and it was considered homemade by most Americans. Mix one can with another can and pour on top of meat, stick in the oven and you are done!
But this doesn't match with my definition of homemade cooked meals for my family and for the people I love. I don't understand why I would spend my time and money on some dish where there is no joy in eating it and this type of food would only bring harm to my body.
Unfortunately, most store-bought cream of mushroom soup has a variety of problematic ingredients. Offenders include:
Monosodium glutamate MSG: A food additive and excitotoxin that may interfere with natural neurotransmitter production.
Soy protein concentrate: This is something I always avoid.
Vegetable oil: chemically processed, and rich inflammatory Omega-6 fatty acids. High in polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Modified food starch: A highly processed starch that contains maltodextrin (often used as a name to hide the presence of MSG)
Other bad ingredients: such as soy lecithin, yeast extract, and “flavoring”
In addition, despite the “cream” on the label, canned soup has very little actual cream. Cream is the ninth ingredient on the list, after vegetable oil, processed flour, MSG, and other questionable items. And it isn’t even real cream! It is actually “dehydrated cream” containing milk and soy lecithin as a thickener.
For us consumers, it's not something we want, right?
Certainly, these ingredients are probably cheaper and much better for the bottom line of the companies producing processed foods, but they certainly aren’t better for us, the consumer!
Cream of Mushroom Soup is one of the easiest soups
Just like most foods, homemade not only tastes better, but it is typically healthier too. Cream of mushroom soup is no exception! Unlike the processed canned version, it only has real food ingredients that can be purchased at the grocery store.
I typically make several batches of this soup and keep it in the freezer for easy future meals prep. Thanksgiving is coming, so if you are planning to use cream of mushroom (or any creamed soup) in recipes for your turkey dinner, then consider taking 20 extra minutes to make your own. I promise you will be hooked!
WHAT DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS SOUP
Mushrooms - any kind, in the video I used baby portobello. I'm a big lover of mushrooms and using some exotic and more aromatic mushrooms is always a great idea. It may not suit everyone's price and taste because they can be too earthy for a new mushroom eater.
Cream - heavy cream or half and half, you decide what you want to use. The only kind I recommend using is this one, because even most organic creams on the market have way too many additives.
Onion - any kind, however I would not use red onion just because of color.
Garlic - fresh is best, never buy pre-chopped, or peeled, etc.
Butter - real good quality such as Irish butter.
Olive oil - California olive oil has been my favorite for the last 10 years.
Flour - all-purpose flour but if you want to keep this soup on the gluten free side there are a few things you can do: sweet rice flour or arrowroot powder can easily be used as substitutes without changing anything in the recipe.
Chicken stock or broth - I can't stress enough how it's important to use good quality. I use homemade, and it's easy to make. Check out the recipe here. If you don't have chicken stock in your freezer, then look for it in the freezer or refrigerator section at your grocery store. Make sure it is organic! Please stay away from boxed chicken stocks!
Salt, freshly ground white pepper - in most of my cooking I use Celtic salt (full of minerals) and freshly ground black pepper. If you don't have white pepper, don't stress about it and just use what you have on hand.
Thyme - or other herbs such as tarragon, marjoram, or sage. I used dried in the video, fresh is nice too. For every teaspoon of dried herbs, use one-two tablespoons of fresh herbs.
Worcester sauce - you can skip, but I recommend using it, because it gives a deep and more complex umami flavor, which is a great addition to the mushrooms, plus balances the flavor with just a touch of acids.
HOW TO FREEZE THIS SOUP
Freezing soup can be a lifesaver. It's a quick and effective meal prep strategy that helps you eat healthy without cooking a meal every single night. Keeping smaller portions of frozen soup in disposable freezer-safe containers is a great way to have this comfort food ready anytime you need it. Typically, you can freeze any soup, especially low carb soups (what I mean is soup without pieces of potatoes). This soup is fantastic to freeze and won't change the flavor within 3 months in the freezer.
HOW TO MAKE IT GLUTEN FREE?
If the small amount of plain all-purpose flour used for thickening the soup bothers you or someone has Celiac disease, are on the keto diet, etc., then please see the alternatives that you can use as substitutes:
Here are a few options: corn starch, potato starch, xanthan gum, guar gum, chickpeas flour, sweet rice flour, tapioca flour, arrowroot flour, even polenta or cooked beans can do a job. Look around to see what is in your pantry and use what you have on hand and what best suits your dietary needs.
Let's make it...
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes
Author: Inna of innichkachef.com
Serves: 6 people
Ingredients for the soup
1 lb. mushrooms (in the video I used half button and half baby portobellos)
1/2 cup of heavy cream or half and half
2-3 cloves garlic
2 Tablespoons of butter
2 Tablespoons of olive oil
2 teaspoons Celtic salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1-2 teaspoons dried tarragon or thyme
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour (see the note above on gluten free options)
4 cups of chicken broth or stock (I used homemade in the video)
2 Tablespoons of Worcester sauce
½ cup creme fraiche (for serving, optional)
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley (for garnish, optional)
Clean mushrooms with a kitchen towel. Chop mushrooms. You will be cooking the mushrooms in two separate batches in order to allow enough space during the cooking process. The mushrooms need enough room to be able to cook thoroughly and create a rich color.
On medium heat using a soup pot with a heavy bottom or Dutch oven add half of the butter, let it melt, add half of the olive oil and add half of the mushrooms, along with salt and pepper.
Sauté for 5-6 minutes or until you see the mushrooms turn into a beautiful brown color.
Remove the mushrooms from the pot and set aside on a plate. Add the remaining mushrooms to the pot along with the other half of the butter and olive oil. Let it cook for a few minutes. Now chop the onion and then crush the garlic and add them to the pot; there is no need to chop the garlic. Season with salt, black pepper and the dried herbs.
Sauté until the onions are translucent and thoroughly cooked and the mushrooms have successfully turned to a brown color.
Sprinkle in the flour and stir. Now add the first batch of the cooked mushrooms back into the pot but leave some mushrooms to be used for garnish.
Add broth and simmer for about 10 minutes with a covered lid.
Remove the lid and puree with an immersion blender, add cream, and stir until it is smooth. Taste for seasoning, and then add Worcester sauce and stir.
Serve as a soup or use as a cream of mushroom base in recipes. Enjoy!