In between the Christmas cookie recipes, I have to fit in this cream of Shiitake mushroom soup I made last week from scratch without using any heavy cream, and using only 1.5 cups of half-and-half. And, by the way, you can use any type of wild mushrooms in place of Shiitake. I’ve made this soup years before, with different types of mushrooms, and it’s always been popular with the family, and I thought it would be nice to make a rendition of it during the holidays this year. Warm and hearty mushroom soup is so welcome on cold winter nights, as a prelude to any dinner. In fact, for the past 2 weeks, a bowl of this mushroom soup or a carrot-lentil soup always awaits me and my husband as a warming appetizer before dinner. And I wholeheartedly recommend the same for you: fill yourself up with soup before dinner, and you won’t be as hungry and will probably eat less for dinner.
I know many people use store-bought cream of mushroom for gravies, but this is a SOUP! This recipe doesn’t use any heavy cream and uses only 1.5 cups half-and-half, majority of creaminess in the soup comes from pureeing mushrooms, carrots, onions and vegetable stock (which you make yourself by boiling water with vegetables) into a wonderful thick concoction that looks like it’s full of cream. The thick density of pureed mushrooms is easily solved by adding a bit of half-and-half. Or, if you’re a purist and don’t want any cream, you could even get away by substituting half-and-half with lesser amount of milk. Then, right before serving, sprinkle the soup with freshly ground black pepper and salt and enjoy your quiet winter evening warmed by a comforting homemade mushroom soup!
Homemade creamy mushroom soup with Shiitake mushrooms
Prep time: 35 min
Bake time: 40 min
- 15 large whole shiitake mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon salt
- more salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 2.5 cups water
- 1.5 cups half and half
- 3 green onions, chopped (OPTIONAL)
1) Slice mushrooms into bite-sized pieces. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large pan, add sliced mushrooms and cook for about 10 minutes until mushrooms soften. Remove half of cooked mushrooms to a separate plate.
2) To the other half of mushrooms, remaining in a large pan, add chopped onion, carrots, thyme, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper to taste. Continue cooking vegetables for 10 more minutes, until onions and carrots soften a bit.
3) Add 2.5 cups of water to vegetables (mushrooms, carrots, onions) in the pan, bring to boil and boil on medium heat for 20 minutes. Some liquid should visibly evaporate, leaving reduced stock, but don’t let all water evaporate. add more water if that’s the case.
4) Remove from heat and add the stock you just made (water with mushrooms, carrots, onions) into the food processor. Process the mixture until it achieves puree consistency.
5) Put puree back into the same cooking pan, add reserved cooked mushrooms that you removed to the plate earlier. Add 1.5 cups of half and half. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer (low heat) and cook covered for 5 minutes, constantly stirring. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Your soup is done at this point, or you can add chopped onions towards the end or use them as garnish, or skip them altogether (depends if you like green onions in your soup).