What’s the one thing that makes this Mushroom Soup stand out from the rest? You’ll enjoy mushroom flavour in every mouthful. As strange and obvious as that sounds, most mushroom soups are actually nothing more than mushroom bits floating in a generically-flavoured creamy soup broth. But this one is 100% mushroom flavour – down to the last spoonful!
It’s easy enough to sauté up some mushrooms in butter, then add some flour, broth followed by a good glug of cream, and call it a day. And while it will taste just fine, it won’t really taste that much like mushrooms, except for the bites you get with mushroom bits in it.
So in presenting you with a mushroom soup recipe I wanted to make sure it actually tasted like – gasp, shock, horror – mushrooms!
And how do we achieve that? Simple: Blitz the soup! Only this way can we release all the gorgeous, sweet and earthy flavours locked up in the mushrooms into every luscious, creamy mouthful!!
What goes in Mushroom Soup
Swiss Brown / cremini mushrooms have a stronger mushroom flavour than regular white / button mushrooms but make the soup browner. So I like to use a combination of both Swiss Brown and standard white mushrooms. This gives you the best of both worlds: an intense mushroom flavour with an elegant pale cream colour rather than a (very) brown one!
(Fun fact: White / button, Swiss Brown / cremini and portobello mushrooms are actually all the same mushroom – just in different stages of the mushroom’s life cycle. True story!)
2. Mushroom Soup – other ingredients
One really nice thing about this Mushroom Soup recipe is how few ingredients are actually called for. Why gild the lily with extra unnecessary flavourings when we already have a soup full of beautiful mushroom flavour!
Vegetable stock – Store-bought stock works fine here, but I really recommend trying this with Homemade Vegetable Stock one of these days! Vegetable stock is much easier and less messy to make than meat-based stocks like beef stock, calling for just basic vegetables and flavourings (carrot, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns, coriander seeds);
Cream, or creme fraiche – This adds a luxuriously velvety mouthfeel to the soup so I really recommend not skipping it. If you don’t have either, stir in a knob of butter at the end.
Cream or creme fraiche? Cream is the obvious option, but I’ve also suggested creme fraiche for something a bit different.
What exactly is creme fraiche, anyway? Creme fraiche is a lightly soured cream, and unsurprisingly tastes like a cross between sour cream and heavy/thickened cream. It has the same velvety richness of cream with a slight tanginess (but not as tangy as sour cream). It’s also thicker like sour cream and can be dolloped rather than poured. It lends a lovely faintly sharpened note to the soup.
Which is better? I’d go cream for every day purposes, and reserve creme fraiche for company (yes, it’s more expensive and not carried by all grocery stores). But it’s no lesser a soup with “just” plain cream, I assure you!
Onion and garlic – Essential flavour base; and
Butter – For sautéing.
How to make Mushroom Soup
This soup is very straightforward to make, but there is time involved in sautéing and simmering. This task is essential to bring out all the wonderful flavours!
Sauté onion and garlic in butter for 5 minutes over medium heat until softened, but don’t let them go golden;
Cook mushrooms for 10 minutes until they become soft. They will release quite a lot of water during this stage but the water will evaporate. Don’t try to cook them until golden; they will refuse to because the pot is too crowded and we’re OK with this;
Simmer 15 minutes – Add vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer gently for 15 minutes without a lid;
Add cream or creme fraiche and simmer for a further 5 minutes;
Blitz until smooth – Transfer the soup to a blender and blitz until smooth. WARNING! Make sure you remove the lid of the feeder (the hole in the lid of the blender), and cover the hole with a folded tea towel before you blend. Hot soup in a tightly sealed blender on full speed = soup explosion!! The lid will blow off, and you’ll end up with hot soup all over the ceiling – and all over yourself. Been there, done that!
Stick blender option: You could also use a stick blender, but I find that it doesn’t puree the soup as smoothly as pictured. It works fine, but a blender is better; and
Return to pot and simmer further on a low heat for a couple of minutes until bubbles caused by blending subside, then serve! Ladle into bowls and garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or cream, croutons and parsley or, if you’re feeling a bit Frenchy ‘n fancy, chervil.
I added some golden sautéed slices of mushrooms for the photos, as a cue so you’d know what this bowl of brown liquid actually is. I must confess I’ve never done that in real life before!!
PS. I guess I should follow that cheeky statement up with some bread recommendations! Here are my top 3 picks:
Crusty Artisan Bread – By far the most popular bread recipe I’ve shared, famed for the exceptional results and dead-easy method;
Focaccia – The latest addition to my bread collection, an Italian favourite wildly popular straight out of the gate!
Or choose your own bread recipe!
Watch how to make it
- 30g / 2 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 onion , chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , minced
- 400g / 14 oz white mushrooms (Note 1)
- 200g/ 7 oz Swiss Brown/Cremini mushroom (Note 1)
- 3 1/4 cups vegetable stock (bonus points for homemade veg stock! – Note 2), or chicken stock
- 1/4 tsp salt , cooking/kosher
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 cup crème fraiche or cream (any full-fat) (Note 3)
- Croutons (Note 4)
- Cream or extra virgin olive oil , for drizzling
- Parsley (roughly chopped), chervil (if you’re feeling a bit fancy), or thyme leaves
- Bread for dunking
Chopping mushrooms: Cut mushrooms into 4 slices, then dice into 3 or 4 pieces.
Saute onion and garlic: Melt butter in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes until softened, but not golden.
Cook mushrooms: Add mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes, stirring regularly. Do not try to brown; they won’t as the pot is too crowded but we do not need colour.
Simmer 15 min: Add vegetable stock, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to medium and simmer gently for 15 minutes without a lid.
Cream: Stir in cream (or crème fraiche), then simmer for another 5 minutes.
Blitz: Transfer to a blender (do in batches, if necessary). Remove the cap from the feeding hole in the blender lid (Note 5), cover the hole with a folded tea towel. Blend until completely smooth.
Return to pot, simmer for a minute or two until bubbles caused by blending largely subside and soup is hot.
Serve: Ladle into bowls. Garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil or cream, croutons and parsley or (if you’re feeling a bit fancy), chervil. Don’t forget bread for dunking!
2. Stock – The better the stock, the better the soup flavour! It’s really worth making your own vegetable stock, yielding very high returns for minimal effort and clean up.
Chicken stock will also work wonderfully here if you’re happy to introduce meat into the dish.
3. Creme fraiche – Creme fraiche is a form of soured cream. It’s tastes like something in between sour cream and regular pouring cream, and is lightly tangy. It’s also thicker than pouring cream and can be dolloped. It lends a lovely subtle freshness to the soup thanks to the mild acidity. Creme fraiche can be hard to find and is somewhat pricey. Regular pouring cream is perfectly good in it’s place and no less delicious!
4. Croutons – Cut any bread (crustless) into 0.75 cm / ⅓” cubes. Toss in a little olive oil to coat, sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake at 180°C/350°F for 10 min, tossing halfway, until golden and crunchy. Cool fully on tray before using.
5. Blending – Doing this allows heat to escape and prevents a hot soup explosion! If you blend hot soup with a tightly sealed it, the lid will blow off and you’ll end up with hot soup all over you and your kitchen … been there, done that!
6. Storage – Soup will keep for 4 to 5 days in the fridge, or freeze for 3 months.
7. Nutrition excludes toppings. Because I cannot be held responsible for how much croutons you sprinkle on your soup, and how much butter you slather on your bread!!
Life of Dozer
Builders are here jackhammering up a concrete slab all day today, and I can’t find Dozer’s earplugs. So I sent him off to spend the day with the golden retriever boarder!