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Is mushroom soup also good for the soul?

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen have brought humor, inspiration and motivation to millions of people through their Chicken Soup for the Soul series.  They chose their title as their inspirational stories were meant to be “good for the soul” same as chicken soup is “good for the body”.   While I have not ventured yet into making a remarkable homemade chicken soup, I do have a fondness for Cream of Mushroom Soup, especially now that Fall is coming.

Shitake mushrooms in middle, surrounded by Crimini

This soup tastes best when using a variety of mushrooms, such as white button, shitake, and cremini.  The cremini is a baby portobello, so it provides a meatier flavor and firmer texture than the other two mushrooms and also gives the soup substance.    You can also try oyster or enoki for a more delicate soup served prior to a heavy meal.

Although I have been tempted to go looking for morels, chanterelles, and truffles in the woods, I have to say I am a bit intimidated on figuring out which are edible and which are poisonous, so instead rely on the expertise of my local grocer to make the right choices.  Buy your mushrooms the day you are making your soup, or the day before – no earlier.    And be sure to use a paper bag (not plastic) when storing them in your refrigerator – will keep them fresh and free from dark spots, which is the first sign they are going bad. The version below is a hearty soup that can stand alone as an entree for lunch.  It also works nicely for dinner if you add a salad (like a robust Green Goddess salad) to round out the meal, along with a baguette and some garlic herbed butter alongside.


Ingredients:

1/4 pound butter

3 small leeks

1/2 pound cremini

1/2  pound white button

1/2 pound shitake

2 cups chicken broth

1-1/2 cups Half and Half

1 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup flour

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup white wine

2 tsp lemon juice

2 Tbl sherry

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup chopped parsley

1 tsp dried thyme

Few grinds of pepper

Method:

  • Clean mushrooms with dry cloth.  Separate the white button and cremini mushrooms into 2 piles and set aside one half of each to be used later.   Coarsely chop the mushrooms (both caps and stems) and set aside.
  • Chop leeks finely and sauté in stick of butter in sauce pan on medium heat (about 10 minutes).  Add chopped mushrooms, garlic, salt, thyme, pepper, and lemon juice and sauté for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile slice the remaining white button and cremini and all of the shitake mushrooms.  Add to pot, then add flour and mix well so the flour begins to stick to the vegetables.  Add chicken stock and white wine, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.   Turn down and simmer for 15 minutes on low heat.
  • Add half-and-half, heavy cream and sherry and bring soup to a rolling boil.  Reduce heat immediately and simmer another 15 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley just before serving.

Yield:  Serves 4
 What favorite soup feeds YOUR body and soul?

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