Mushroom Soup - One Flavourful Recipe, 3 Different Variations

Mushroom Soup - One Flavourful Recipe, 3 Different Variations

I find the idea of turning a few humble ingredients into a flavourful masterpiece fascinating. And although that happens with many recipes, I feel this way most when I make the mushroom soup.

You look at a few button mushrooms sitting on your counter, just a few supporting ingredients found in your pantry and fridge, and somehow they all meld into such a beautiful dish that is sure to please. If you are a person who doesn’t like mushrooms, depending on what the reason is, you may still enjoy this soup. If it’s a matter of texture, consider giving it a try, since after the soup is blended, the texture is completely different. If it’s a matter of taste, well, can’t help you there as this soup will end up with the intense mushroom flavour.

3 Different Soup Consistencies – totally chunky, totally smooth and a mixture of both. How do you like your mushroom soup?
I love totally creamy mushroom soup

The only drawback here is the time commitment. Mushroom caramelization is absolutely crucial to the flavour profile and overall success of this dish. During the process of caramelization, many simultaneous chemical reactions occur which result in the browning of your ingredients. But it’s not only the colour that changes, brand new unique flavours and aromas develop, creating a whole new elevated flavour profile. And the time commitment may be significant depending on a few things: the level of heat, the size of the mushrooms, the size of the pot. Are you one of those individuals who washes the mushrooms in water (technically, proper culinary way is to wipe the mushrooms with a damp towel?) I’m not arguing that you should stop washing your mushrooms, do what makes you happy, but just know that doing so will increase the time commitment.

But this chunky one is great too!

If you don’t properly caramelize the mushrooms, you will still end up with the mushroom soup. It just won’t be this mushrooms soup. I’m thinking of many mushroom soups I’ve had before that did not rely on the process of caramelization, but rather on getting the richness and their distinct white colour from the use of cream, and they were still delicious. But this soup takes delicious to the whole new level!

To start, maybe puree only half of the soup for creamy and chunky consistency!

This soup is low maintenance after your mushrooms have caramelized, you won’t have to stir it non-stop, but you will need to be in the kitchen for a good portion of the cooking time to tend to it once in a while, so I highly recommend working on another cooking project at the same time! Hope you give it a try.

Oh, one more thing! I find everyone has their own preference on how to best enjoy this soup. I’ve included instructions on how to make creamy, chunky or the combination of both variations!

DifficultyBeginner

Yields4 Servings
Prep Time10 minsCook Time1 hr 15 minsTotal Time1 hr 25 mins

 4 tbsp butter (or oil if you must)
 2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
 pinch of kosher salt
 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
 ¼ cup white wine, optional
 3 tbsp flour
 3 garlic cloves, minced
 3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or in part water,) plus more as needed (see note)
 ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
 3 tbsp heavy cream (can use more to taste, or omit entirely)
 Garnishes, optional, such as a few fried mushrooms, fresh thyme sprigs, etc.

1

Heat oil or butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add mushrooms with a pinch of salt (I prefer kosher salt here.) A small pinch goes a long way here, so do not over-salt.

2

The next step will take some time depending on many variables discussed in the blog post. You will need to cook your mushrooms until deeply browned. You will first notice mushrooms release their liquid, then the liquid will gradually evaporate and the browning will begin. At that point, when your mushrooms start to brown, reduce the heat to medium, perhaps even medium high. Stir your mushrooms periodically, however, after the liquid has evaporated, allow your mushrooms to brown, but do not burn, before stirring again. You will get a handle of how often to stir your mushrooms depending on a few variables, you may need to leave the mushrooms undisturbed for 1-3 minutes. As I mentioned in the blog post, the browning is crucial for the flavour to develop, so don’t skip this step.

3

When you are happy with the level of caramelization on your mushrooms, add your onions and cook them stirring occasionally for only about 5 minutes or so, until soft and translucent, but not brown.

If using wine, add at this time and take care to scrape up the flavourful bits of fond on the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two until almost completely evaporated.

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes or so, stirring constantly, to cook off the raw flour taste; do not brown the flour. Add the garlic at this point (I do not enjoy the flavour of browned, burned garlic as such I add it at the very last minute while some recipes add it before the flour goes in.) Cook the garlic for only 10-30 seconds until aromatic but not brown.

Realistically, steps 1-3 should take about 45 minutes, so plan accordingly.

4

Add your liquid very slowly and immediately turn the heat to high. At first start with a very small amount and scrape up the fond (flavourful brown bits that formed on the bottom of your saucepan.) When the bottom of the pan is clear and the flavourful brown bits have dissolved into the soup, add some more broth, but not all of it, in a steady stream, working out any of the lumps that may form and bring it to simmer. Only add enough liquid to submerge the mushrooms - remember, it's always easier to thin out your soup by adding more liquid later. Add dried thyme leaves. You do not want to season the soup at this point with salt and pepper as it may result in it being over seasoned. After the liquid was brought to a boil, turn down the heat to maintain gentle simmer.

5

Allow the soup to gently simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour (50 minutes is almost always perfect for me but it will depend on the level of heat and the size of the pot.) If the soup ends up reducing too much, remember, it could always be fixed by adding more liquid. And if it does not reduce enough, just cook it slightly longer.

6

The tricky part comes next. You will need to make a decision if you will be leaving your soup as is (proceed to the next step if that’s the case,) or if you will be pureeing all or parts of it. Use handheld immersion blender or transfer the desired amount of your soup (1/4 – ½ batch of your soup for half-pureed soup or all of it for perfectly smooth and creamy consistency) to the blender, this may need to be done in batches, and puree until smooth. Return back to the pot.

7

Cream may be omitted entirely, but I prefer adding a very small splash of cream at this point and cooking until heated through. Taste your soup and season with salt and pepper to taste! Add more stock (or even water) to thin the soup out and get to your desired consistency, if needed. You can garnish your soup with sprigs of fresh thyme, pan seared mushrooms, croutons. Go ahead and enjoy while watching the faces of your very impressed guests!

Ingredients

 4 tbsp butter (or oil if you must)
 2 lbs mushrooms, sliced
 pinch of kosher salt
 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
 ¼ cup white wine, optional
 3 tbsp flour
 3 garlic cloves, minced
 3 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock, or in part water,) plus more as needed (see note)
 ½ tsp dried thyme leaves
 3 tbsp heavy cream (can use more to taste, or omit entirely)
 Garnishes, optional, such as a few fried mushrooms, fresh thyme sprigs, etc.

Directions

1

Heat oil or butter in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add mushrooms with a pinch of salt (I prefer kosher salt here.) A small pinch goes a long way here, so do not over-salt.

2

The next step will take some time depending on many variables discussed in the blog post. You will need to cook your mushrooms until deeply browned. You will first notice mushrooms release their liquid, then the liquid will gradually evaporate and the browning will begin. At that point, when your mushrooms start to brown, reduce the heat to medium, perhaps even medium high. Stir your mushrooms periodically, however, after the liquid has evaporated, allow your mushrooms to brown, but do not burn, before stirring again. You will get a handle of how often to stir your mushrooms depending on a few variables, you may need to leave the mushrooms undisturbed for 1-3 minutes. As I mentioned in the blog post, the browning is crucial for the flavour to develop, so don’t skip this step.

3

When you are happy with the level of caramelization on your mushrooms, add your onions and cook them stirring occasionally for only about 5 minutes or so, until soft and translucent, but not brown.

If using wine, add at this time and take care to scrape up the flavourful bits of fond on the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two until almost completely evaporated.

Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes or so, stirring constantly, to cook off the raw flour taste; do not brown the flour. Add the garlic at this point (I do not enjoy the flavour of browned, burned garlic as such I add it at the very last minute while some recipes add it before the flour goes in.) Cook the garlic for only 10-30 seconds until aromatic but not brown.

Realistically, steps 1-3 should take about 45 minutes, so plan accordingly.

4

Add your liquid very slowly and immediately turn the heat to high. At first start with a very small amount and scrape up the fond (flavourful brown bits that formed on the bottom of your saucepan.) When the bottom of the pan is clear and the flavourful brown bits have dissolved into the soup, add some more broth, but not all of it, in a steady stream, working out any of the lumps that may form and bring it to simmer. Only add enough liquid to submerge the mushrooms - remember, it's always easier to thin out your soup by adding more liquid later. Add dried thyme leaves. You do not want to season the soup at this point with salt and pepper as it may result in it being over seasoned. After the liquid was brought to a boil, turn down the heat to maintain gentle simmer.

5

Allow the soup to gently simmer uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour (50 minutes is almost always perfect for me but it will depend on the level of heat and the size of the pot.) If the soup ends up reducing too much, remember, it could always be fixed by adding more liquid. And if it does not reduce enough, just cook it slightly longer.

6

The tricky part comes next. You will need to make a decision if you will be leaving your soup as is (proceed to the next step if that’s the case,) or if you will be pureeing all or parts of it. Use handheld immersion blender or transfer the desired amount of your soup (1/4 – ½ batch of your soup for half-pureed soup or all of it for perfectly smooth and creamy consistency) to the blender, this may need to be done in batches, and puree until smooth. Return back to the pot.

7

Cream may be omitted entirely, but I prefer adding a very small splash of cream at this point and cooking until heated through. Taste your soup and season with salt and pepper to taste! Add more stock (or even water) to thin the soup out and get to your desired consistency, if needed. You can garnish your soup with sprigs of fresh thyme, pan seared mushrooms, croutons. Go ahead and enjoy while watching the faces of your very impressed guests!

Mushroom Soup

Make it Vegetarian: replace chicken stock with vegetable stock.

Make it Vegan: replace butter with oil, chicken stock with vegetable stock, omit heavy cream. You can also replace cream with vegan sour cream.

Make it Gluten-Free: replace flour with good-quality all purpose gluten free flour or omit entirely as when blended the soup will be quite thick, ensure all your ingredients are gluten free, including the chicken stock.

Make it Low Carb/Keto/Paleo: replace milk with heavy cream for Keto, replace flour with Keto/Paleo-friendly version or omit entirely as when blended the soup will be plenty thick, reduce the amount of onions and limit your portion size in accordance to the requirement of your diet. Omit cream for Paleo version and replace butter with oil.

Make it Dairy-Free: omit heavy cream, replace butter with oil.
You can also replace cream with vegan sour cream.

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