Start your meal with this creamy mushroom soup! I use three types of mushrooms to create the most flavorful appetizer. Pureeing the mixture produces a luxuriously smooth texture with restaurant-quality results.
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Put down that can opener! Skip the store-bought cream of mushroom soup and give this homemade recipe a try. I’ll show you how to achieve a creamy consistency that’s bursting with savory notes. Although convenient, you’ll never go back to the canned stuff that is loaded with sodium and additives.
Fresh ingredients and simple pantry staples create gourmet results with minimal effort. Using different types of fungi paired with caramelized onions and herbs delivers an intense flavor dimension. The method is easy- saute, simmer, and puree, that’s it!
I use a trio of mushrooms; white button, baby bella, and dried porcini. Button is the mildest in taste and light in color. Brown baby bella (or portobello) are similar to cremini mushrooms, with more robust umami notes as it cooks.
I use a small amount of dried porcini because the natural glutamates and nucleotides further concentrate, creating intense savory notes that add depth and aroma. You can use different mushroom types, but it will change the hue and taste depending on the ratio.
Saute the onions for a sweeter taste
I use one pan for cooking the soup, a dutch oven, or a large heavy-bottomed pot for sauteing and simmering. To balance the strong savory flavor, saute the chopped onions in butter. Sweating the onions to draw out their moisture, then allowing them to lightly brown develops caramelized flavors. This process adds a hint of sweetness to the soup.
I prefer to use white or yellow types of onions because they have a mild taste and are higher in natural sugars like glucose, fructose, and sucrose for browning. Adding in minced garlic elevates the earthy notes. Chopped fresh thyme complements the alliums and transfers more fat-soluble flavors when cooked in the hot fat.
Cook the mushrooms
To speed up the cooking process, slice the mushrooms to ¼-inch thickness. This size provides more surface area for cooking and allows the cell walls to release their moisture. I sprinkle it with salt and pepper right away to help draw out the water and season the slices.
Similar to my sauteed mushrooms recipe, the liquid concentrates in the pan, developing a more pungent savory taste. I like to reserve a small amount of mushrooms for garnishing the soup right before serving.
Add some acidity
Acids are natural flavor enhancers, making the savory and sweet notes from the mushrooms and onions sharper. To brighten the earthy taste of the soup, add some white wine and vinegar. They contain a combination of tartaric, malic, and acetic acid. Chardonnay, pinot grigio, or sauvignon blanc are good choices.
I use Chardonnay for its light oaky, buttery taste. White wine vinegar seamlessly complements alcohol. However, you can use other types like balsamic or red wine vinegar. The goal is to allow the liquids to mostly evaporate so that there’s only residual alcohol which prevents a boozy taste and mellows out the aroma of the vinegar.
Let it simmer
The dried mushrooms briefly saute with the soup mixture, then the vegetable stock is added. It’s essential to cover and let the ingredients simmer for at least 15 minutes. This process allows the mushrooms to hydrate and release the glutamate flavor compounds into the liquid. The elements then merry together for incredibly delicious spoonfuls.
Thicken the soup
Processing the soup mixture in a high-speed blender yields a smooth and velvety texture. The sharp blades break the vegetable into tiny particles that suspend in the liquid, instantly thickening the consistency. You can also use a hand-held stick immersion blender, although I find that the texture is not as silky. Straining through a fine-mesh sieve can help to remove any lingering particles.
Add extra richness
Use heavy whipping cream, which contains 36% milkfat, to add a pleasant richness. Once the soup has been pureed, mix it in and gently heat it to the desired serving temperature. The cream brings all of the elements in the soup together, giving a gourmet flavor. However, if you like a strong umami taste, you can skip the cream but add more vegetable stock to thin out the texture.
Don’t forget those reserved sauteed mushrooms. Add those on top of each soup bowl. If you’d like more, cook a variety of fungi or wild mushrooms for extra texture. Right before serving, garnish with fresh chives for a pop of color. For more crunch, some toasted bread crumbs or crumbled croutons would be lovely.
Serve this with
Compared to canned condensed products, homemade soup has less sodium and additives. This recipe omits the traditional roux (flour and butter mixture) that’s traditionally used for thickening. Instead, this gluten-free version uses the puree technique and heavy cream to create a velvety consistency. For a lower fat version, use non-fat or low-fat milk, adding it gradually not to dilute the taste and texture.
Yes, for two to three months. Make sure that the soup is completely cool before transferring it to storage containers or bags. This prevents harmful bacteria from growing when transferred to the freezer. Make sure to freeze within 2 hours of cooling. Defrost in the refrigerator the night before and reheat on the stovetop over medium heat until hot.
The benefits of adding dried mushrooms
Mushrooms naturally contain amino acids called glutamates and nucleotides. Fresh mushrooms contain mainly glutamates, which are weak in the umami flavor. Dried mushrooms have a higher concentration of nucleotides, so the umami sensation is noticeably increased. The result is a more flavorful soup! I use porcini mushrooms, but dried shiitake have an even higher amount of nucleotides for a stronger taste.
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- 8 ounces brown mushrooms, cremini or baby bella
- 8 ounces white mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, or extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup white onion, or yellow, ¼-inch dice
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon chopped thyme, or ¼ teaspoon dried
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- ½ ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 3 cups unsalted vegetable stock, or chicken stock
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 teaspoon chopped chives
- Rinse and dry the fresh mushrooms, or wipe the surface with a damp paper towel. Trim the stems and cut them into ¼-inch thick slices.
- Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add the butter. Once melted, add the onions. Saute until lightly brown and translucent, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add the minced garlic and thyme, saute for 30 seconds.
- Increase the heat to medium. Add the slicd mushrooms, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Saute until tender and most of the moisture releases, occasionally stirring, about 6 to 7 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of for garnish.
- Add the wine and vinegar, stir and cook until most of the liquid evaporates, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the dried porcini mushrooms, stir to combine.
- Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until mushrooms are tender, about 15 minutes, stirring every five minutes.
- Carefully transfer the soup to a blender and reserve the pot. Make sure the cap in the feeding hole is removed, and cover instead with a kitchen towel to prevent splattering. Do not fill the blender more than halfway full, work in batches if needed. Puree on medium speed for 30 seconds. Increase to high speed, process until a smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the pureed soup back to the pot.
- Heat the soup over low heat. Add the cream and stir to combine. Continue to stir and cook until hot, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Divide the soup among serving bowls. Garnish with reserved mushrooms and chives.
- Recipe Yield: 4 cups
- Serving Size: 1 cup
- Storing: Cool soup completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Reheating: Place soup in a pot over medium heat, adding more stock if needed, occasionally stirring until hot.
- Make it Dairy-free and Vegan: Substitute olive oil for butter. Canned unsweetened coconut milk, cashew milk, or oat milk can be used instead of heavy whipping cream; add just enough until desired consistency is reached.
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