Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Mushroom Soup with Cream

I was looking forward to making this month's Barefoot Bloggers selection. It's Ina Garten's Cream of Mushroom Soup, selected by Chelle of Brown Eyed Baker.

I'm a big fan of most anything with mushrooms -- except thick, cloying, canned cream of mushroom soup. I confess I've used a can or two in my time, to thicken a post-Thanksgiving Turkey and Stuffing Casserole, but to eat as a soup? Pass.

This was my first time actually making mushroom soup, and at a glance, I knew I'd scale back on the diary (copious amounts of heavy cream and half and half) for the obvious reason -- to reduce the fat -- and for another reason. My boyfriend loves anything with mushrooms, but nothing creamy or fatty. He's forever lamenting how few restaurants make a broth based mushroom soup.

I am a well-known soup alchemist -- I add dibs and dabs of lots of things until it's just right (the result of which is that I seldom duplicate a pot of soup). Still, I followed the recipe fairly closely, with the following exceptions:

In Step One, making the mushroom broth, I used half water, and half homemade chicken stock. I just felt it needed more flavor than plain water and mushrooms. Once the veggies (mushroom cap stems, carrots, and shallots) were fully cooked, I did strain the broth, but I pureed the veggies with the broth in blender cup, until it was a thick applesauce consistency, and very golden in color from the carrots. This went back into the soup.

In Step Two, sauteing the mushrooms with butter, flour, white wine and leeks -- I was out of leeks and used shallots.

In Step Three, simmering the soup and adding the dairy, I thickened with the pureed vegetables as described above, and added probably 1/3 cup of heavy cream, at best. Nothing more was needed, and it was still very rich, buttery, and creamy. I used the thyme, but skipped the parsley.

Finally, as far as seasonings, mushrooms are just notorious for soaking up spices and needing extra seasoning and salt. I kept salting and peppering this soup but didn't hit that "note" it needed until I switched to liberal shakes of my house-made Schezwan Pepper Salt. That was the ticket!

This was a very delicious soup!

About this challenge: The Barefoot Bloggers join forces and cook or bake recipes by Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten each month, chosen in order by members, and present them for discussion on two Thursdays each month. Hungry? Please join us at the table!


  1. Love the pics. The soup looks yummy. I used chicken stock, too but love the idea of pureeing the veggies and adding them back.

  2. I am impressed with your tweaks - I wish that I had pureed the vegetables as well.

  3. Your pictures looked great, and I like that you pureed the veggies, I think I would have liked that better.

    Great job!

  4. Great idea using the chicken stock - I saw someone else do that too, wish I had. Great job!

  5. I think you are a true alchemist! Good idea to add the strained veggies back in. I thought about it, but was in a rush. Good good post

  6. I wish I had read about your changes before I made mine. I would have pureed those leftover veggies from the stock and used stock instead of water in the soup. Mine came out kind of bland. Sounds like yours came out delicious!

  7. I like your modifications. I really wish I had used way less cream and half and half. Luckily, I only made half the recipe.

  8. I'm glad I tried the full fat version but next time I think I would try it your way. Smart idea to puree the veggies. Your's sounds so much more healthy yet just as delicious if not better!:)

  9. Such great pictures of your soup. Using the Schezwan Pepper Salt was smart. I found I had to up the pepper somewhat myself.

  10. Wow your soup sounds delicious! I love mushrooms and I am going to have to give yours a try!

  11. Tweaking is one of the best parts about making soup. YOurs sounds like it was an all around hit!