January 14, 2015

Mushroom Soup

I'm in the middle of packing to go back up to college, which means a few things. First, I'm trying to cook as much as possible to make up for the next few weeks. Second, it's going to be frigid and snowy and windy and just plain cold. Also, any healthy eating I've accomplished while I've been home may or may not come to a screeching halt. In an attempt to cope with all this before I have to deal with it, I made this mushroom soup, which is hot, delicious, and secretly vegan (if you want it to be).

I start with a good amount of butter; you can use a vegan substitute like margarine, shortening, or even a splash of oil instead. Whatever you use, melt it in a big pot and use it to saute some onions and garlic. Once those are tender, I add a full pound of sliced baby bella mushrooms, along with some diced potatoes and herbs. The potatoes thicken the soup and add a surprising amount of creaminess, which makes them a great substitute for fattening alternatives like, well, cream.

After a few minutes, I stir in some white wine and veggie or chicken broth. The mushrooms have plenty of liquid to evaporate but not quite enough to make a whole soup from, so I use over 4 cups of liquid. It only has to simmer until the potatoes are cooked through, which means the whole dish should only take 45 minutes or so.

Anyway, once the potatoes are cooked, it's time to puree the soup. I like to use my immersion blender because I can do it right in the pot and avoid washing more dishes, but a regular blender or even a food processor would work, too. However, I still want some texture, so I blend the soup until smooth but leave some mushrooms to brown and stir in after.

I saute the remaining half pound of sliced mushrooms in some more butter and then stir them into the pureed soup along with a splash of soy sauce for a unique salty, savory flavor that you can't quite place. It's a great soup for keeping up with your healthy eating and staying warm at the same time, and it's definitely a plus that it's so easy to make and can be made vegan with just a few tiny switches.

1 Stick Butter
1 Spanish Onion
2 Cloves Garlic
1 1/2 lbs Cremini (Baby Bella) Mushrooms, Sliced
3 Yukon Gold Potatoes
1/8 tsp Thyme
1 Bay Leaf
1/4 Cup White Wine
4 Cups Vegetable Broth
2 T Soy Sauce

Chop the onion finely. Mince the garlic. Peel and cube the potatoes.

Melt 6 T butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add 1 lb mushrooms, potatoes, thyme, and bay leaf.

Cook, stirring often, until the liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated, 10-15 minutes. Add the wine, then add the vegetable broth once most of the wine has evaporated. Simmer until the potatoes are cooked, about 15 minutes. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, melt the remaining butter in another large pot. Add the remaining mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until browned, 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Blend the soup with an immersion blender until smooth. Stir in the browned mushrooms, soy sauce, and salt and pepper.

Serves 6
Recipe Adapted from Mike Ryan

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