Happy Groundhog Day! Here on the East Coast, the weather is definitely an improvement from last week when we got about 2 feet of snow, but it's still pretty nippy and I am still firmly in soup mode, no matter what that little critter predicts. But the great thing about this soup is that because it's so light it works well both in the frozen tundra and those not so frozen areas. Which means that even if where you are, it's warm and sunny (and I have to admit, I feel a little bit hostile towards you if you're walking around in shorts and a tee at the beginning of February, but that's only my jealousy talking), you will be happy to enjoy this delightful hot liquid just as much as those of us in the snow-covered parts. It'll seem especially good to you if you're shivering in your air-conditioned pad (see there's that nasty jealousy acting up again!) Plus it's easy to make and will remind you of the canned soups you ate as a kid, only this version is a billion times better tasting and better for you too!
I hated raw mushrooms as a kid--couldn't understand why anyone would want to eat something referred to as a "fungi" but strangely I always loved cream of mushroom soup. Go figure! There was something about the creaminess of the soup with the little chunks of mushrooms that sunk to the bottom--I don't know. But if you look at the ingredient label on that soup can, you'll be kind of horrified. Besides the MSG, it's got all kinds of additives and oils that you really don't want to eat and yes, it may be convenient, but in about 30 minutes, you can whip up this full-of-flavor mushroom soup that is not only made with only natural ingredients but also has less than 300 calories a serving!
Every bite is full of a slightly creamy broth and the full-bodied earthy taste of real mushrooms. My daughter and husband polished off half the pot I made for lunch and I will definitely be including this in my regular soup rotation. If you're a mushroom lover, you've got to try this!
Golden Mushroom Soup
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
1/2 pound white mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
1 pound baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and trimmed
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large shallot, minced
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme or a shake or two of dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 pint light sour cream or low-fat plain yogurt
Scallions or chives to garnish, thinly sliced or chopped
1. Either chop the mushrooms finely by hand or do it in a food processor. I used the food processor to save time--just make sure you only pulse it--you don't want to over do it and wind up with mushroom mush! Set aside.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the shallots for about 5 minutes, or until they are golden and softened. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have given off a lot of their liquid, about 8-10 minutes. Pour in the stock, add the bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Stir in the sour cream or yogurt and heat over a low light--don't let it boil or the cream will curdle. Transfer to bowls, garnish with the scallions or chives and serve immediately.
3. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
Note: Recipe adapted from Soup for Every Body by Joanna Pruess. I didn't use dried shitake mushrooms and instead upped the amount of baby bellas used and I also replaced the water with more stock.