“Creamy” Mushroom Soup
Growing up, cream of mushroom soup was more of an ingredient than anything else. We’re all familiar with that red and white can of condensed soup, right? From green bean casserole to my first beef stroganoff recipe. It was a required item. It wasn’t until just a few years ago I started really thinking beyond the can, and giving a soup like this the attention it deserves.
The reason this recipe has the word “creamy” in quotes, is because there’s not actually any sort of dairy in this. And it’s not that I can’t have dairy. It’s more just me being creative in the kitchen in finding ways to add more plant based foods into my own diet.
It’s also not so much in a “hide the vegetable” sort of way to trick your kids into eating more vegetables (though if you want some great ideas, look up Alton Brown’s old Good Eats episode, Undercover Veggies), but rather as a way to make them a bit healthier, and in some cases more budget-friendly.
I had some success using chickpeas in my Cream of Whatever Soup recipe to make a really good butternut squash soup a few weeks back, so I thought I would take a similar approach with this one.
I’ve only made cream of mushroom soup one other time, and I don’t know what happened to the recipe I used. So for this one I did what I often do, hit up Google, read a few recipes, find one that sounds like it will be good, and then start changing it. The one I ended up using as my starting point was over on Cafe Delites. But with a few notable changes.
First, I forgot the butter. When I make this again, I’ll likely add some. Maybe not a full 6tbsp, but I think butter always adds good flavor when sauteing, be it onions, peppers, shrooms, whatever.
Second, I’m not a wine drinker and I don’t keep any around for cooking. Maybe I should get some cheap bottles to have around for stuff like this, but… oh well. I thought about adding some worcestershire, but I didn’t want this to turn out too much like my stroganoff recipe.
Then, I did not use fresh thyme. I almost wish I did though, and may do so next time. I started to buy some, but then needed some dried thyme for something else, so I just bought that. Feel free to use fresh if you want. I also went for all beef stock vs a mix of chicken with beef flavoring. If you have none, buy beef. If you have chicken or vegetable stock on hand already, just use that. If you have homemade bone broth of any kind, DEFINITELY use that.
Most of the work on this was in the prep, dicing and slicing the onion and mushrooms. You could by sliced if you want to save some time. After that, it was just sort of adding this, doing some stirring, adding that, doing some stirring, etc. Overall, a very easy recipe I think.
Mushrooms are near impossible to over cook, but pay attention to the onions. I wanted soft, but not browned onion. So the stirring is an important step, that, and not having your heat too high.
After you add the flour, be sure to cook everything a few minutes so you don’t get that raw flour taste. Overall, this is essentially making a roux using the fat from the oil we cooked the vegetables in, so that once the broth is added, it will thicken up a bit.
One area I was concerned with though, was getting it too thick. I’m adding a bean slurry instead of cream. The beans are cooked, so it’s not like they’re going to soak up liquid, but what I was adding was much thicker than cream to start with. I was prepared to add another cup of broth made from bouillon if needed, but I think it turned out just fine without it.
I used dried white navy beans, and cooked them myself in my InstantPot. I then used 1.5 cups of those drained, cooked beans, which is what you get from your typical can of beans. I wanted to make it easy to sub canned beans if one desired. And you can use great northern, cannellini or chick peas if you’d rather. A white lentil would probably work really well too. I debated on using chickpeas, they do tend to have an almost buttery flavor, but… Well, maybe next time.
As a soup, I’m very happy with how this turned out. I also used it to cook some chicken breast for dinner. I put the chicken in a pan, covered it with the soup, put a lid on it and backed about 45 minutes until I was sure the chicken was done. It may have been great served on some rice, but I roasted some carrots for the side. It would likely work for other dishes, but if I were to make something like the holiday essential, green bean casserole, I’d probably tweek it. Maybe smaller pieces of mushroom, less broth to make it thicker to begin with, etc.
I don’t treat myself to something like this too often, because unfortunately, I’m the only one here that likes mushrooms. But I think I will do this again, maybe modified a bit more to make a smaller batch. Because there is no dairy, it may freeze fine, but I’m not sure how the mushrooms would fare. If you’ve frozen and reheated cooked mushrooms, let me know in the comments. I’m wary that they would get all rubbery.
I hope to add some additional recipes along these lines, including maybe an addendum to the Cream of Whatever Soup and a flour-less chocolate cake recipe I’ve made a few times that is bean based. Hopefully, soon even.