Mushroom’s Cream Soup

I don’t care what any of you godless atheists say; good soup is proof that there are powers bigger than–and beyond the understanding of–us humans. Refute me; I dare you. In the meantime, though, get mushroom-slapped in the mouth with this recipe.

Ingredients:

1lb mushrooms, sliced

1 small onion, diced

3 cloves garlic, chopped

4-cups vegetable stock, heated

1-cup fat free cream

1-2 tbs. Veggie Grated Topping (more on this at the bottom of the page)

1/4-cup  butter or butter substitute

2 tbs. all-purpose flour

2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp. ground clove

2 tsp. cayenne pepper

2-3 tsp. dried marjoram

Salt and pepper, to taste (probably significantly more of the latter)

The following group of steps involves making a rue, albeit with a couple steps between the rudimentary ‘melt fat, add flour’. Don’t worry–this rue isn’t complicated; it just has some added steps. A rue is a great way to thicken up things like soups and cheese sauces (you’ll see it again when I do my–so far–all-time favorite recipe: my yet-cleverly-named mac & cheese. It’s more or less equal portions of fat and flour, although I kind eyeball it when I’m doing it and adjust the butter and flour as necessary. If you want a more detailed account of how to make a rue, check out this video and description over at Mom on Wheels. Just a little aside, though: I do not use the initial oil before I add the butter; I just jump right into it. Oh, and heat up the liquid (veggie stock, here) before you add it; this will help the butter and flour de-clump faster. The liquid shouldn’t boil, but warm or steaming is good.

Ok, enough with that–I’m hungry. I recommend using a large, high-walled frying pan for this (think a large sauce pan) to allow for good heat distribution (or, if you have it, a medium sized pot, which, unfortunately, I don’t have.). Melt the butter over medium heat and add the onion, garlic, and thyme, stirring and cooking for a minute or two, until the garlic is translucent and just beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms, ground clove, marjoram, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional 4-5 minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft and brown. Finally, add the flour and stir.

Lower the heat a bit and add the vegetable sock, stirring vigorously. Try to get out as many clumps as you can, but don’t worry about making it perfect–the smaller ones should cook out. (Just try to make sure there are no clumps in your finished product, since no one likes flour balls with a squishy exterior.) Up the heat and bring the thing to a boil. During this time–when it’s coming to a boil–is when you want to work out the remaining clumps. Now reduce the heat to low and let the bad boy simmer for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally.

Whisk the cream and Veggie Grated Topping into the soup. Up the heat to medium-low and make sure to not let the soup boil. Trust me, you don’t want it to burn; it will taste horrible and cleaning the pan/pot will suck. A lot. Just get it hot enough to serve. If you want to make it thicker, feel free to whisk in some low fat sour cream or (my always popular) fat free mozzarella cheese. Just do so a little at a time so you don’t end up with a paste.

Feel free to garnish with some additional Veggie Grated Topping, full sprigs of thyme, or chives. The soup also goes great with some whole wheat or grain artisanal bread. In fact, I have a feeling this is going to be a huge cornerstone of my Thanksgiving dinner (something I’m still trying to figure out as a veg virgin). Also, mix it up with the mushrooms a bit. I only used simple white mushrooms and I’m allergic to portobellos, but this soup should be great with some wild, porcini, and/ or cremini cremini mushrooms. Go: experiment. Just don’t you even think of feeding me a portobello, ass.

Non-Veg Friendly Factor: 5. Fine, so between the Baked Chili Rellenos and this soup I’ve kind of been cheating with the Veg Friendly thing because I’m just making standard (although healthified) recipes. Bite my bird. This soup is a great way to quench a craving for cold weather comfort food, especially with a big hunk of bread. If anything, I hope some of these recipes can prove to any non-vegs that a transition to vegetarianism–or almost vegetarianism–is wholly possible without being a huge pain in the ass. So for all of you haters looking for a new way to incorporate seitan: wait and enjoy this soup. Ass.

As for the Veggie Grated Topping: it may sound gross, but it tastes exactly like Parmesan cheese. Plus, remember my Parmesan retraction at the bottom of my Silken Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo post? Retraction retracted, kind of. Eat this stuff and you’ll never buy–or miss–animal stomach Parmesan again. You’re welcome.

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