One of the main reasons that I began cooking was that I felt that a lot of food was dry & tasteless. Therefore I wanted to learn the fundamentals about soups & sauces. A good sauce or soup can make a meal. Cream of mushroom soup has turned into a personal and family favorite. When I mentioned this soup to my brother in Washington DC, he said that his roommate often opens up a can of Campbell’s cream of mushroom soup and pours it into a casserole. I was offended; Nothing from a can here, just pure deliciousness.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
1/4 pound whole butter
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups celery, cleaned and small diced
1/2 tablespoon dry thyme
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
2 pounds mushrooms, sliced
1 quart vegetable stock
1/8 cup cooking sherry
2 ounces butter (for finishing)
1/4 cup flour
1 quart heavy cream
3/4 quart whole milk
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tabasco sauce
1/2 teaspoon red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper, to taste
In a large stock pot, add the mushrooms, thyme and vegetable stock to create an essance of mushrooms. Simmer for about 30 minutes.
In a large pot, sweat the onions, celery, garlic and shallots together with the butter (1/4 pound butter).
Add the flour to make a roux and stir well to combine.
Deglaze with the sherry; reduce to soak up.
Add the mushroom essance and stir in well to create a veloute sauce; simmer for about 10 minutes.
Temper the cream and milk with a couple ladles of hot soup. Add the cream/milk mixture into the soup and stir well.
Bring to a simmer and season with remaining ingredients.
It’s important to layer the flavors. For example, when you add some tabasco sauce towards the end, you will need to allow it to simmer to incorporate. Same with worcestershire, butter, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar. You can’t rush art.
|Creating an “essance” of mushrooms. If I only had smellvision.|
|Sweating the onions, celery, garlic, and shallots. They should make a perfume out of this.|
|Tempering the cream with the hot soup. This keeps you from adding cold cream to a hot soup, pausing the cooking process.|
The best recipe for any dish is your brain and your tongue; paper recipes are just a guide. This works well for me but drives other people nuts.
Thanks to Chef Todd Leonard at Orson Gygi for teaching me this soup. I have added this, added that, little less of this, but the fundamentals are the same.