Ahhhh, cream of mushroom soup. You warm, cozy old friend.
Up until last week I hadn’t enjoyed a bowl of plain cream of mushroom soup in years. As a child I frequented the just-add-water, from a can variety.
That’s right folks, as a child I ate that gloppy, gloopy, gray matter straight up. Not mixed into casserole or thrown over some chicken. Plain.
I also enjoyed eating mushrooms straight from the can. When we made homemade pizzas I managed to eat half the can before it ever made it’s way onto the cheese. I guess canned mushrooms and I kinda had a fling back then.
Thankfully, our relationship has matured over the years. Now I enjoy them soaked in wine and butter, stirred into stews, or stuffed in grilled cheese. I haven’t thought much about the canned variety in a while, but when I saw a version of homemade mushroom soup (on Pinterest. of course.), I couldn’t get the idea out of my mind. A craving set in, and it would not be satisfied until the soup was mine.
A few weeks later, it came to be. This soup was darn easy to make and tastes 1,000 times better than the canned variety. It’s cozy, comforting, and filling. The perfect lunch for a blustery day.
I served this with grilled bread for dipping, because grilled bread is awesome. Duh.
Not surprisingly, the combo of the slightly crunchy, buttery bread and the creamy, garlicky, mushroomy soup was to. die. for.
I used dried thyme to season the soup, but would definitely recommend using fresh if you can. I always find the dried variety ends up being a tad too strong.
I enjoyed this soup all by itself, but if you want to use it in place of canned condensed soup, you could take out some of the liquid and add additional cornstarch to thicken it. But be sure to try a bite of it before throwing it in a casserole. You may just be surprised how wonderful plain ol’ mushroom soup can be.
Creamy Mushroom Soup
- 16 oz. mixed fresh mushrooms, some diced finely and others left in larger pieces
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons butter
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Dash nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat oil in a large sauce pan over medium heat. Add butter and allow to melt. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, about one minute.
- Add in chopped mushrooms, thyme, bay leaf, and worcestershire. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until the moisture from the mushrooms is gone.
- Add chicken broth and turn heat up to medium high. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Stir in diluted cornstarch. Keep the mixture at a steady simmer, stirring constantly, while mixture thickens.
- Stir in milk and heavy cream and bring back to a simmer. Taste then season with salt, pepper, and a bit of nutmeg. If the mixture is too thin (mine was at this point), dilute another tablespoon of cornstarch in a bit of water and stir it in, again allowing the mixture to thicken as it simmers.
- Remove from heat and serve immediately. Like most cream soups, this will develop a skin as it cools, so it's best to get it to your bowls and your bellies as soon as possible!
Recipe adapted from Season with Spice