This mushroom soup was so delicious, and it hit the right spot! Smoky, nutty flavors from the mushrooms combines with the creaminess of Manchego cheese and the sweetness of Marsala wine, rounded up this soup into a cup of earthy heaven!
Wow, I got inspired! Do you want to know why? Because I was so excited about the mushrooms, I forgot the cream I needed to make this soup cream of mushroom soup; hence the title is just mushroom soup. But, the soup worked just fine without the heavy cream, and it was completely and totally delicious. I also wanted a piece of ciabatta toasted with blue cheese, and that didn't happen either, so I went with ciabatta and manchego. If you have not tried Manchego cheese, try it; you will love it.
Mushrooms, mushrooms, everywhere
I have been in a mushroom kick for the last month or so. I think it is the season. Autumn/Fall inspires harvest, warmth, and coziness, and for some reason, mushrooms do the same for me. A while back, my husband and I were shopping at Whole Foods. I will be honest, I do not shop at Whole Foods as much as I would like to, but for now it is a treat and the place I go to find something different. And that day was no exception. We found one pound container with exotic mushrooms. This pack had a combination of Trumpet Royales, Alba Clamshells, Brown Clamshells, Maitake Frondosa, Enoki, and Shitake.
Honestly, I do not remember what we made with them the first time we came across them, but I was blown away by the mushrooms themselves. These mushrooms are grown very clean. Not one speck of dirt on them. They were very fresh and the taste was clean and fragrant. So, even though whatever I made was not memorable, working with the mushroom was, and I wanted to work with them again. So, I made my way back to Whole Food and found the mushrooms to make this delicious soup.
When you don't have cream for your soup, make a broth
So, my original plan was to make a cream of mushroom soup. I started the soup with that intend until I was about two steps away from adding the cream. I realized, that in my hyper focus of finding the mushrooms, I forgot to buy the cream, so now what? All I had was milk, hmm. I toyed with the idea of just making it a broth and adding beans and small diced onions and other vegetables to make it more like a broth. Only problem, I had added flour to the mushrooms to make a quick roux that would thicken my cream of mushroom. I still have milk . . .
I decided to go halfway if that were possible. To make a broth like not quite creamy mushroom soup. Considering the hurdles, this soup came out perfect!
"perchance to cream-ay, there's the rub"
Soups are either a broth or a cream. There are bisques and chowders, but I personally classify those as cream based or broths. For example, Manhattan Clam Chowder is a broth based chowder, whereas New England Clam Chowder is a cream.
Making a broth-based soup requires a liquid, be it water or a broth/stock, and flavorful aromatic vegetables and ingredients. All ingredients will be mostly visible when the soup is finished. Some potato based soups would turn murky due to the potato falling apart, but for the most part, all ingredients are easily identifiable, unless it gets blended as we would a tomato soup. Making a cream-based soup could require a roux to help with thickening of the soup and overall binding of the fats. These soups tend to be heavier, sometimes pureed and strained like a bisque.
As for my mushroom soup, after I had sweated the mushrooms and added the shallots, I added flour. Again, until this point I thought I was going to make a cream soup. Like I had mentioned before, flour works as a binder and as a thickener, aka a roux. When we add flour to any recipe and use it as a Roux, the roux needs to be cooked, even if just slightly, to remove the flour taste and transform it to a nutty accent flavor. I will write a post on using roux soon, so stay tuned. The next logical steps would be to add a stock and follow with a cream. I added the vegetable broth and continued cooking the soup up to the point to add the cream.
The not so creamy mushroom soup
At this moment I decided to use milk, but not that much, just enough to give my soup a milky color. By no means would milk give my soup the creamy consistency, but I could still get the look I was looking for. I compensated my lack of cream with manchego cheese. You see, sometimes I look at ingredients at their most basic element. If I have had sour cream or a creme fraîche, this recipe would have been a cream of mushroom, but I did not. Manchego, although a hard cheese, it is softer than Parmesan cheese. It has also a nutty flavor and it is not stringy.
The soup ended with a quasi creamy texture, but full of flavor. I had deglazed the pot with marsala wine right after the roux was cooked, and I seasoned the mushrooms with herb de provençe. The soup ended with a nice floral bouquet, delicate sweetness, and nutty earthiness. I had bought a nice ciabatta loaf, which I brushed with olive oil and fresh garlic and topped with more Manchego. I toasted the bread and used it as a tasty accompaniment to this delicious soup.
This soup was super easy to make, the longest part of the soup was cooking the mushrooms. I hope you enjoy making this as much as I have. Please let me know how it turns out when you make it.
You might also like these other recipes:
- two pounds of mushrooms. I used one pound of exotic mushrooms plus half a pound of button mushrooms, and half a pound of baby portabella mushrooms. All mushrooms small diced.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- one medium onion small diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- one teaspoon of herb de provençe
- one ounce of flour
- 32 ounces vegetable broth or chicken broth if you want more flavor
- ¼ cup of marsala wine or any wine you prefer, red or white.
- ¼ cup manchego cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- fresh parsley for garnish
- one pint of heavy cream if you would like to make this a cream of mushroom soup
- Place a large stock pot on the stove at low to medium heat. I used a 6 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven. Do not over heat the pot, so that it will not smoke once you start cooking.
- Small dice or rough chop the mushrooms. Once the mushrooms are ready, make sure the pot is nice and hot by adding 1 tablespoon of olive oil, reserve the rest for later. Olive oil will move fluidly on the pot but not smoke. Add mushrooms.
- Cook mushrooms, occasionally turning them with a spoon until the mushrooms have rendered all their liquid and reabsorbed it back. You should get a nutty aroma from the mushrooms once they are cooked through. Meanwhile dice the onions and garlic.
- Once the mushrooms are ready, add the onions and garlic. Add the other reserved tablespoon of olive oil if pan is too dry. Cook onions and garlic until translucent and soft.
- Add the remainder olive oil, if you did not use it with the onions and garlic, and add the one ounce of flour. Cook the flour until flour turns golden and nutty aroma is prevelent.
- With a wooden spoon, deglaze the bottom of the pot with the wine by gently rubbing the spoon on the bottom of the pan and lifting the brown bits off.
- Switch the spoon to a whip (or whisk) and begin stirring the contents of the pot as you pour the broth in a steady stream . This will eliminate any clumping of the flour.
- Allow the soup to simmer for about 10 minutes. Checking it occasionally. You are looking for the thickness of the soup, and you do not want the contents to stick to the bottom either. If the soup thickens too fast, add more stock or water to thin it. If you desire, add cream in small increments to soup at this point to thin out the soup.
- Taste the soup. If your soup taste like flour, cook the soup a bit longer.
- To serve, laddle soup into bowls and grate manchego cheese on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and serve with a piece ciabbatta and machego toast.