I was an alarmingly picky child, also an alarmingly picky teenager and an alarmingly picky young adult. Many foods were frightening to me, especially those with a slimy or slippery texture. Eggplant, onion, zucchini and mushrooms were particularly intimidating. Mushrooms most of all; they were squishy and slippery and they freaked me out. The mushroom aversion was also one that persisted as I managed to grow out of some of my other food fears. Even as I started to eat onions and eggplants, my mushroom dislike just dug in its heels. I knew logically that mushrooms tasted good, from when I tried them inadvertently and from the way people talked about them, I knew they had a meaty, rich, umami lovely flavour. I wanted to like them, but I just didn't. So squishy.
This soup was the gap-bridger, the recipe that let me start to really love mushrooms. This soup is the mushroom gateway drug. It sold me on mushrooms so thoroughly that I was able to start trying them in other non soup applications. And they were great! I'm sure you guys probably already know that mushrooms are great, if you weren't all so pathologically picky. But they are great, and so's this soup.
cream of mushroom soup:
- 1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped
- 1 whole head garlic, peeled and smashed
- 4 cups beef, vegetable or mushroom stock
- 4 cup mixed mushrooms, chopped. I used chanterelles, crimini and shiitake
- 1 cup light cream
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped (optional)
- a teeny splash of truffle oil (optional)
Sauté onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until they are beginning to colour. Add mushrooms, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle a little salt over them to help them release water. Continue to cook them until the water is mostly evaporated. Add stock and cook over medium heat for around half an hour to concentrate the stock slightly. Add the cream and season with salt and pepper.
To cream the soup, either use an immersion blender and purée until the consistency you want is achieved (I like to blend until the soup is mostly smooth with some chunkier mushroom pieces are left) or blend in a blender. Stir through most of the parsley, if using, and reserve a little to sprinkle over the top.
Serve with parsley, and a couple drops of truffle oil drizzled over each bowl if you wish. A few toasted slices of baguette would be pretty great too.
Photo credits: Tyrel Hiebert