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Recipe File: Cream of Mushroom Soup
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Cooking For Engineers



Joined: 10 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:19 am    Post subject: Recipe File: Cream of Mushroom Soup Reply with quote


Article Digest:
One of the recipes that I keep getting asked for is a Cream of Mushroom Soup that doesn't come out of a can. I worked on this one for a couple of weeks, trying various recipes, until I created this recipe that not only has the taste and consistency of the soup everyone is familiar with, but also a wonderful freshness and flavor that can only belong to a homemade soup.

Start by assembling the ingredients needed for the basic soup. You'll need about 1/3 cup (70 g) flour, 4 ounces (110 g) butter, 1 cup (235 mL) chicken broth or stock, 4 ounces (110 g) diced onions (about 1/2 large yellow onion), 2 oz. (55 g) celery, 2 oz. (55 g) leeks, 7 cups (1.65 L) whole milk (not pictured). You'll also need to have 12 to 16 ounces (340 to 450 g) button mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon (0.4 g) dried, ground tarragon, 1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream, lemon juice, salt, and pepper for finishing the recipe.
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Start by washing the leeks. Often, mud and dirt will get trapped in the layers of the leek, so special care should be taken to wash them thoroughly. The easiest way to do this is simply to break the leeks apart under running water and use your fingers to help wash the dirt away. The celery should also be rinsed and deveined.
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Chop off the green tops, leaving the base of the leeks to make a total of about 2 ounces. Dice the leeks, celery, and onion. This combination of vegetables is often called a white mirepoix (while a "normal" mirepoix substituting carrots for the leeks).
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Melt the butter in a 3-1/2 quart or larger pot over low heat.
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Add the onions, celery, and leeks to the melted butter and turn the heat up to medium-low. Stir the white mirepoix as it sweats until the onions are translucent, about 6 minutes.
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Add the flour to the mixture and continue to stir and cook over medium-low heat. Cook for about twelve minutes.
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The flour mixture should have taken on a slightly yellowed appearance at this point.
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While stirring, slowly pour the chicken broth into the pot. After all the broth has been incorporated into the flour mixture, keep stirring until there are no more lumps.
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Now, slowly add milk to the pot. To keep from forming lumps, you'll want to pour a little milk at a time. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup milk into the pot and stir until it's been fully integrated into the flour. Repeat with 1/2 cup milk at a time until four cups of milk have been stirred in. At that point, it should be fine to pour in the last three cups of milk without lumps forming.
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Bring the soup to a full boil, then simmer for 45 minutes (until smooth and thickened).
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In the meantime, prepare the ingredients for the final part of the recipe: 12 to 16 ounces (340 to 450 g) button mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon (0.4 g) dried, ground tarragon, and 1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream. Lemon juice, salt, and pepper will be used for seasoning as well.

Wash the mushrooms.
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Cut all the mushrooms into a fine dice. It's important to get the mushrooms cubes to be as uniform as possible so they will cook evenly. It also makes the final soup more attractive.
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Set the mushrooms aside as the soup simmers.
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Once the soup has simmered for 45 minutes, it can be chilled and refrigerated to finish the soup at a later time (up to three days). When it is time to finish the recipe, just reheat the soup until simmering temperature and continue the recipe from here.

Add the 1/4 teaspoon tarragon to the soup and stir in.
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Add all the diced mushrooms to the soup and stir until evenly mixed.
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Simmer for 10 minutes.
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Turn off the heat and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add lemon juice, salt, and pepper to taste. For my ingredients, I found that 1 teaspoon lemon juice, 1 teaspoon table salt, and 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper was just right.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup
4 ounces (110 g) buttermeltsweat 6 min.stir in and cook 12 min.gradually stir instir in 1/2 cup at a time until 4 cupsstir in rest of milkbring to boilsimmer 45 min.fold in, simmer 10 min.stir in, remove from heatseason to taste
4 ounces (110 g) diced onionswash and dice
2 oz. (55 g) celery
2 oz. (55 g) leeks
1/3 cup (70 g) flour
1 cup (235 mL) chicken broth or stock
7 cups (1.65 L) whole milk
12 to 16 ounces (340 to 450 g) button mushroomsdice
1/4 teaspoon (0.4 g) dried, ground tarragon
1/2 cup (120 mL) heavy cream
lemon juice
salt
pepper


by Michael Chu
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:31 am    Post subject: Great recipe- what about using coconut milk? Reply with quote

Hi, first I'd like to say that I am truly looking forward to making this soup, I've been a big fan of everything mushroom since I first started to appreciate them in my late teens. Now, I don't think heavy soups (that is soups with heavy cream and a lot of milk) are good for weekly consumption and I'm today a big fan of using some milk substitutes instead, do you, or any of your readers, know of a good mushroom soup that does not contain any heavy cream, or better yet, any milk? There might be a way to experiment with this recipe, and that's something I plan to do .. just after I've tried the original! Regards from Iceland, Omarkj.
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1622
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Any reason why you feel that milk would be worse than coconut milk?
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kayenne
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:30 pm    Post subject: milk vs coconut milk vs soy milk vs potatoes Reply with quote

hmmm... i'm not sure coconut milk is a good substitute for milk for this recipe. coconut milk has quite a strong (and usually sweet!) flavor, especially powdered or canned ones (as opposed to squeezing it fresh from mature coconut.) I believe it would overpower the mushroom. plus, coconut milk is high in fat. simmering fresh coco milk for so long(45mins!) will not thicken the soup, rather, the water content evaporates and you get coconut oil and coco solids left(add a chili pepper or two and you get a dish native to a province here! YUMM! but that's another story.). this substitution will require a lot of overhauling from the original recipe.

your comment made me think of soymilk, which i've been working on using as dairy substitute for several recipes. fresh strong soymilk is good, but can't also be simmered for very long, as it tends to get grainy. neither will it thicken.

some people(who are avoiding the fat in creams) use mashed or milled boiled potatoes to thicken soups. this might work better if you want to avoid dairy.

or, you can opt for a clear mushroom soup. Smile which is actually very good for you and it's a staple in many asian-oriental cuisines. you can even use Mr. Chu's recipe with just minor adjustments. Let me know if i can help.


kayenne
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heather
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 7:33 pm    Post subject: mushroom barley soup Reply with quote

I am going to have to make this soup over the weekend!

Omarkj, mushroom barley soup is a hearty alternative to a cream based soup. I usually saute up a mix of whatever mushrooms are looking good at the store and some shallots with olive oil until everything is caramelized. Add some barley and saute until it smells nutty. Follow up with some chicken or vegetable stock, thyme, and bay leaf, simmering until the barley is tender. Sometimes I add carrots and parsnips or some parsley and chervil, depends on my mood. Healthier than the cream based, but I love a cream based soup from time to time.

As a side note, evaporated milk sometimes is a decent, though not as tasty substitute for cream. It will give some of the same consistency while maintaining most of the same flavor.
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anon
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: yield? Reply with quote

The recipe sounds fantastic. Just wondering how much soup you ended up with...

I agree with earlier comment that coconut milk would probably overpower the mushroom flavour. Not to mention that it would probably be a lot "heavier" with coconut milk than with milk, even whole milk!
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1622
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:44 pm    Post subject: Re: yield? Reply with quote

anon wrote:
The recipe sounds fantastic. Just wondering how much soup you ended up with...

I agree with earlier comment that coconut milk would probably overpower the mushroom flavour. Not to mention that it would probably be a lot "heavier" with coconut milk than with milk, even whole milk!

Shoot. I knew I forgot something in the article. It makes about 3 quarts (10 sizable servings).
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Altissima



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
Posts: 2
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
To keep from forming lumps, you'll want to pour a little milk at a time. Slowly pour about 1/2 cup milk into the pot and stir until it's been fully integrated into the flour.


Using a wire whisk to incorporate the milk will help to avoid lumps forming.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Altissima



Joined: 03 Nov 2006
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Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 4:53 am    Post subject: Re: Great recipe- what about using coconut milk? Reply with quote

Anonymous in Iceland wrote:
...do you, or any of your readers, know of a good mushroom soup that does not contain any heavy cream, or better yet, any milk?

This recipe would probably still be delicious if you simply replaced all or some of the milk with stock and reduced or omitted the cream. Just one cup of milk and a dash of cream, in combination with the thickening effect of the flour, would give a convincingly creamy taste.

Some other suggestions:

Roasted cashewnuts, puréed with water until very smooth, make an excellent replacement for milk in soups.

To replace the cream, you could try liquidizing silken tofu with a dash of vegetable oil. Be careful not to allow the soup to come to the boil after you have added the tofu, as it may"split".
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anonymous in nola
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 9:36 am    Post subject: mushroom soup Reply with quote

Just a suggestion that I tried in mushroom soups before. You don't need to get all fancy with the "hoity toity" mushrooms, but baby bellas are similar in size and texture to button mushrooms, but give the soup a bit of a heartier flavor. Or, roasting the button mushrooms first also brings out the mushroom as the primary flavor.

my penny thought
enjoy!
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januaryfarm
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 3:39 pm    Post subject: Printing issues Reply with quote

Just wish that the Recipe Card would have printed on one page. Don't you think an engineer could figure this part out?
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1622
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: Printing issues Reply with quote

januaryfarm wrote:
Just wish that the Recipe Card would have printed on one page.

I assume you're using Internet Explorer since it didn't print. IE has always had a lot of difficulty printing tables in webpages. I haven't tried IE 7 yet, but I'm hoping they'll fix this.

I made a PDF of the recipe card (from Firefox) for you to download and print: here
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chopper
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:20 pm    Post subject: whisk it Reply with quote

not only will whisking help when adding milk, but heating the milk up prior to adding it will too.
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2006 2:19 pm    Post subject: "Deveined" Reply with quote

Quote:
The celery should also be rinsed and deveined.


This statement really confused me -- I thought to deveine must be some American term for a particular type of celery perparation with which I was not familiar.

A quick search on Google lead me to the French word déveine meaning rotten luck, which confused me even more!

It suddenly struck me that the word was in fact de-vein, as in to remove the tough veins from the celery.

Doh!
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kharrison
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 05, 2006 9:06 pm    Post subject: Great soup, but... Reply with quote

I prepared this soup last night for my son and me (hubby's not a big fan of mushrooms) and it was fantastic. I only lessened the amount of onions (I'm not a big fan of onions). My only problem was the scalded milk at the bottom of the pan. I stirred frequently; though with a toddler running around, it was difficult to keep a steady vigil. Still, we have an electric range...could this have caused the burnt milk at the bottom? I know gas is best to cook with, but we're stuck with an electric range for now. How can I avoid this in the future?

Thanks,
kharrison
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