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a slight change of plans

Recipe: creamy mushroom soup

I was going to get the workshop registration up and running this week before I left for a shoot. I came to the realization this morning that if I opened registration right before I was leaving, people who had questions or problems would be stuck out until I returned. So, in a move that will maintain my sanity and hopefully prevent some of you from hating me, I’m pushing it out a couple more weeks because I am going to be living in the dirt and incommunicado for a little while. However, I did put a logo together and my fellow cohorts gave it the thumbs up… I know it’s just a logo, but I am not a graphic artist, so this was a small victory for me in the Land of Crazy Busy.

just so you know i’m not slacking off on ya

Earlier in the week, I had a shoot in Boulder which involved a bowl of berries and a bunch of kids – a bunch of fun and sweet kids. When the shoot was done, the girls sat down with the berries and happily stuffed them into their mouths, one after another. It’s hard to imagine anything more springlike than hanging out with three giggling children eating fruit on a gorgeous, warm and sunny Colorado day. I love that I get to do this and call it work.

sisters being goofy

polishing off the props

i’ve never worked with happier people

But March is psycho-weather month here in Colorado, and while the sun and Daylight Saving has lulled those wishful people into a false sense of Spring, snow is right around the corner. I see it in my forecast – here it comes… I don’t mind snow and cooler temperatures. Right now it is either snow or mud in the mountains, and I really do prefer snow. It’s a great excuse to extend hot soup season.

portabellas, alba mushrooms, onions, thyme, garlic

I dog-ear a ton of recipes. More often than not, I am always rediscovering those recipes that are 180° out of phase with the season. So it was my dumb luck that I came across this lovely recipe for a hearty mushroom soup to serve at dinner last week to our guests. I’m always trying to expand my vegetarian entertaining repertoire and this was easy enough to substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth. I’m not a fan of store-bought vegetable broths, but I was running short on time (this seems to be a recurring theme for me) and grabbed an organic version.

sliced thin

we want to hydrate the porcinis and save the soaking liquid (good stuff)

Even though the recipe didn’t call for it, I decided to add some dried porcini mushrooms to the mix. The reason: the leftover porcini liquid is pure gold. Talk about flavor country. Don’t be draining that off and dumping it down the sink!! Sometimes a little sediment might settle to the bottom – I leave that behind. My hope was that the liquid would mask any weirdness in the vegetable broth.

nothing more heavenly than sautéed mushrooms in butter

the soup is a boilin’

It worked beautifully. Our vegetarian guest loved it and all of the omnivores did too. The soup isn’t terribly heavy, but it is so satisfying on the taste buds. I think mushrooms sit atop a special throne in the vegetable world because they command such heady flavors that most vegetables can only dream of achieving. I’m anxious to give it a try with some of my homemade chicken broth, but the mushrooms are the true stars of this recipe.

garnished with thyme and mushrooms browned in butter

Creamy Mushroom Soup with Sherry and Thyme
[print recipe]
from Fine Cooking issue #74

2 tbsps unsalted butter
2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium onion, medium dice (~ 1 1/2 cups)
4 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 lb. fresh mushrooms, wiped clean, trimmed, and thinly sliced (~ 4 1/2 cups) – I used portabella & alba mushrooms
1/2 oz. bag of dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 1-2 cups boiling water (reserve the liquid, but leave any sandy dregs behind) – this is optional, but I did it
2 tbsps plus 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp salt to taste
1/2 tsp ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1/4 cup half-and-half
3 tbsps dry sherry
1 tbsp soy sauce

In a large stockpot heat the butter and olive oil over medium-high. Sauté the onions until they are browned, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir about for a minute. Then add the mushrooms, 2 tablespoons of thyme, salt, pepper, and cook until the mushrooms begin to wilt (in a couple of minutes). Pour in the broth and the porcini liquid (aka liquid gold) making sure to scrape up any fond that has formed on the bottom of the pan (the good browned bits). Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for about 7 to 10 minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Remove the soup from the heat and let it cool slightly. Either using a food processor, a blender, or an immersion blender, purée about half of the soup. Return the purée to the pot and stir int he half-and-half, shery, and soy sauce. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Reheat as needed. Garnish with fresh thyme and extra mushrooms that have been browned in butter (that is some heady garnish, lemme tell ya!). Serves six.

34 nibbles at “a slight change of plans”

  1. Memoria says:

    This soup looks so gratifying and comforting. The porcini look so meaty! I’ve never heard of or seen alba mushrooms. They are pretty.

    I agree; the logo looks great!

  2. Rosa says:

    A delight ful soup! That combination is mouthwatering…

    Cute kids!



  3. Mrs Ergül says:

    This soup seems like a champ! I have been hearing so much about porcini mushrooms! But I believe they are extremely costly, and regular button mushrooms are already not that cheap.

  4. Caitlin says:

    That’s it, I just need to subscribe to Fine Cooking – you’ve made too many supremely easy and wonderful-looking recipes from it! And seriously, those kids are adorable, in a totally “I can hand them back to the parents when things go downhill” sort of way ;)

    Oh, and can’t wait for registration to open for the workshop! It’s looking promising that I’ll be able to come…..

  5. Lisa says:

    Thanks for posting this recipe. I always want to know how to make creamy mushroom soup. Beside the French Onion Soup from Le Yaca, this is my favr.

  6. Fiona says:

    My favorite thing about that first mushroom photo is that I can see the knife marks on your cutting board. That is a well-loved board.

  7. Julie says:

    That soup looks and sounds amazing! Thanks for posting the recipe!

  8. thedelishdish says:

    mushrooms are one of my absolute favorite foods but ive never tried making a mushroom soup…i love the variety of mushrooms used here…i dont usually like creams in my soups (i know it’s weird!) but it looks like the small amount here does the job of making it nice and smooth without weighing it down!

  9. Maria says:

    The kiddos are too cute! Great photos. I am loving the soup too!

  10. Valérie says:

    I love mushrooms in any form, but usually I’m in too big a hurry to eat them and I just stir-fry them and wolf them down. I do like them in soup form, though – and this one looks like a winner!

  11. kellypea says:

    I’m right with you on the dog-eared recipes not in touch with the season. I call it optimism :) Love this soup! I’m thinking it would be very nice poured over pasta or rice, but I’m a carb girl at heart.

  12. Kirsa says:

    the soup looks full of awesome, but I’m not so sure about the color… i’d honestly prefer lighter (even if looks still very good !) not accustomed to dark musrhooms soups i guess.

    caitlin: don’t worry, she made me obsessive about Fine Cooking too, until my fiance suscribed for me on my birthday. hurrah !

  13. Kate @ Savour Fare says:

    This looks amazing. It’s 85 degrees in Los Angeles today and you’ve got me craving mushroom soup! And it’s not totally out of step with the season — it’s still cool most places, especially in the evenings. Maybe a little gremolata would be a good finisher to springify this soup?

  14. M. says:

    this sounds and looks amazing…… I love mushroom soup but some how I’ve never made one myself…’s time… :)

  15. Hsin says:

    Usually I avoid cream mushroom soups, but yours looks so good it tempts me to change my habits.

  16. TheKitchenWitch says:

    Those berries look familiar! :)

    I love mushroom soup, and this looks amazing! Bookmarking this one!

  17. Maria says:

    This soup sounds divine! I adore mushrooms but have yet to put them into such a soup. Fresh thyme goes amazingly well with earthy mushrooms. Thanks for the inspiration!

  18. Anh says:

    The kids are just full of happiness!

    And yes for the soup. We are having “leftover” hot days. I cannot wait for cooler weather and will be remembering this soup!

  19. Daiming Zhu says:

    Mmmm… I’ve always loved mushroom soup, and I would always order a bowl at Pizza Huts in China. Sadly, that’s about the only place to get western food. But in Australia, those mushrooms would cost a fortune! Sigh, the benefits of living in America… =(

  20. Marisa says:

    This looks so good Jen. Mushroom soup has strangely never appealed to me, but this one could sway me…

  21. tasteofbeirut says:

    What is funny is I made mushroom soup 2 days ago; I love yours too! Next time I am using these fancy ones, they look fun and tasty too

  22. No Onion Please says:

    It looks really really good. Why oh why you haven’t posted it during the mushroom period ;) Forests nearby are full of porcini … sigh….

  23. Ruth Ann says:

    Loved the pictures of the cute kids. Looks like fun.

  24. Ciaochowlinda says:

    Wow that looks delicious. I think there are still lots of cold days ahead to enjoy this soup.

  25. Sunday says:

    It’s mushroom season here! I might have to track down some field mushrooms and give this a go. I have a mushroom soup recipe which is very similar – but I’ve lost it! This one looks like it would be just as delicious, if not more so with the Porcini in there.

  26. Y says:

    Aaaah those kids are crazy gorgeous! Soup looks pretty darn good too.

  27. Paula says:

    Adorable pics! Delicious looking soup!

  28. Kevin (Closet Cooking) says:

    Tha ti one nice looking mushroom soup! Thyme and mushrooms are a great favour combo.

  29. jenyu says:

    Mrs. Ergul – yes, the porcinis are expensive, but I buy them dried which helps to bring down the cost. If you want some, send me an email and I’ll mail you some :)

    thedelishdish – I have to avoid creams in my soups too because of the lactose, but this one is just a very little bit. Works well and didn’t seem to give me many problems.

    Kirsa – you can add more cream or half-and-half to get it lighter in color. The dark color comes from the portabellas and the porcinis

  30. Cherine says:

    This is a delightful comforting soup!

  31. Christiane Vincent says:

    This is lovely! For anyone who is wanting to keep their long beautiful mushroom slices intact, you can skip the puree step – I decided to, and it turned out really nice.
    Thanks for this!

  32. John Beck says:

    I sure hope you’re life ‘partner’ appreciates your devotion to your ‘craft’.
    Your zest for life and your joi de vivre in the culinary arts sets you aside from most..
    As an older, male, learning to appreciate the ‘finer’ things in life: cooking being one of them…
    I hope you find much love and support in your endeavors!!
    My only ‘prior’ experience with mushrooms had to be of the ‘spiritual’ kind; for which I’ve long grown out of…
    Cheers and best wishes from Langley, BC, Canada

  33. mushroom soup | m y s e a s t o r y says:

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  34. robin says:

    I just made this for lunch and it tastes AMAZING. It tasted so good as it was that I didn’t even put in the half and half. Made some grilled cheese to go with it and I’m in heaven.

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