Classic Cream of Mushroom Soup

dsc_1356RECIPE #313, DAY #508

FOUR STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Cream of Mushroom Soup”/”Potage Veloute aux Champignons” from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking*

TIMING: about 45 minutes

DIFFICULTY: Easy to moderate

TOOLS: Soup pot, whisk, strainer

COOK TYPE: Stovetop

HEALTH: This soup would be good for you, but the French are so fond of butter it just gets worse every time you add another knob. After I cut some of it out (because we actually thought it tasted too greasy in the end), it swung back over into the sorta healthy vicinity, however, with a fair amount of mushrooms and a warming, chicken-veggie broth.

dsc_1357EXPERIENCE: I was reluctant to give this recipe only four stars, but I really missed the viscosity that we have come to expect in America in our creamy soups. I also wanted it to be much creamier. On the other hand, our guests loved this soup, and Kevin–a fan of cream of mushroom soup–said repeatedly that it was the best bowl of cream of mushroom soup he had ever had.

dsc_1358NOTES:  I used a combination of white button, cremini, and baby portabellos. You could use a combination, for depth, or you could stick with one mushroom.

***

  1. In a heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add 1/4 cup minced onion and cook over medium-low heat until soft but not browned. Add 2 tablespoons all purpose flour and stir to work in. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Whisk in 6 cups chicken stock until smooth. Then add the stems from 1 pound mushrooms, 2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, and 1 bay leaf. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Strain the soup to remove all the bits. Discard the bits. Set aside soup.
  4. In your temporarily-empty soup pot, heat 1 tablespoon butter over medium heat. Add the sliced tops of your 1 pound mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the soup back into the pot.
  6. In a small mixing bowl, beat together 2 egg yolks and 1 cup cream. Beat the hot soup, a little at a time, into the cream mixture, until you have added 1 cup. Now turn soup to low heat and beat the cream mixture into the pot of soup. Taste for seasoning, including optional white wine vinegar, lemon, or Dijon mustard.
  7. Remove from heat. With a whisk, add 1 tablespoon softened butter to the soup to finish, and serve.

***

Serve as a starter for a French supper, especially in cold weather. We served it with roasted chicken, potatoes, and peas (and plenty of wine). For lunch, just add some superb bread and a chicken salad (or, for that matter, a chicken salad sandwich).

*Recipe changed from the original.

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