This wild mushroom soup uses a blend of mushrooms to add more depth of flavor, but with all that wonderful earthiness and smooth creaminess you would expect. It's easy to make, comforting and delicious.
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There's nothing quite like a bowl of warming soup in colder weather. We all have slightly different favorites in our house. My eldest loves roast tomato soup, my husband is a big fan of Scotch broth. I am less aligned to any one, but instead go through phases, with mushroom soup always being in the mix somewhere.
I've never been a fan of the canned version, but homemade is a completely different story. It is less about being really thick and so much more about the mushroom flavor. And especially when you use a range of mushrooms as in this version, they really shine.
What mushrooms should you use?
This is a soup where you can easily switch up the mushrooms depending on what you have and what you prefer. Different varieties have slightly different flavors to them. If you go foraging, it's a great way to use some of what you find (although always make sure you are completely certain that what you pick is edible).
I suggest always using some portobello mushrooms, and ideally a good amount, as they are a great variety for adding lots of depth of flavor. (And if you have extra, make some baked portobello mushrooms some time - always a good choice!)
Apart from that, I'd say it's more down to availability. Here I used some oyster mushrooms and crimini, but if I were able to find chanterelles, I would definitely add some of those as I love their flavor. A few porcini (or a few rehydrated dry ones) can also be a good choice, though I would only use a few as they can be strong.
Steps to make this soup
This follows a relatively typical method for blended soups:
- Soften the onions - this brings out their sweetness.
- Add the other vegetables and sweat/wilt down - this means they are largely cooked before adding the liquid. They are more flavorful this way (and for mushrooms, it massively reduces their volume).
- Add stock/other liquid - here you can use vegetable or chicken stock, as you prefer. You can even make a stock with the mushroom stalks and a few additions (some onion, carrot and celery/parsley stems if you have them).
- Simmer a few minutes then blend - this ensures everything is cooked before you make it nice and smooth.
- Add cream - this makes it, well, creamier and adds a little richness. You can adjust the amount to taste.
Since you want the flavor of the mushrooms to shine, you want to keep the seasonings relatively simple. However, you can also vary them a little, and I definitely suggest you use some. I like to use a little brandy to add an extra depth of flavor before you add the stock. Then some thyme adds a nice extra freshness as well.
Sometimes I might add some paprika (as in Hungarian style soups), but that's about it apart from salt and pepper. But do make sure you season this soup - unless your stock is salted, this is a soup that benefits from a bit of seasoning.
Nearly all soups benefit from some onion in there as a base as it adds great flavor, and this one is no different. I also used some leek here as they pair well with mushrooms. If you don't have any, you can add extra onion or skip, but it's nice to have that extra slightly different flavor.
Make ahead tips
As with many soups, this is one that you can make ahead and re-heat. And similar to other soups with cream like my shrimp bisque, I suggest if you are planning to make it ahead, you only make as far just before where you add the cream.
That's not to say you can't re-heat this after adding cream - you can - but it is best not to boil the soup with the cream in there as it can separate or otherwise impact the texture. So, I suggest you re-heat the soup first, then add the cream so that you don't heat the cream too much.
You can store this in the fridge for around 3 days, or else freeze it in a plastic container if storing longer.
Soups are always great to have on hand in the colder months, and this wild mushroom soup is a great choice. It's easy and relatively quick to make, hearty without being heavy and full of tasty flavors. You can adapt it to the mushrooms you can find, to make the most of their earthy flavors. Pure comfort in a bowl.
Try these other comforting soups:
- German pancake soup (Flädlesuppe - a broth-based soup with pancakes in as noodles!)
- Cullen skink (Scottish smoked haddock chowder)
- Avgolemono soup (Greek lemon and chicken soup with orzo)
- Jerusalem artichoke soup (aka sunchoke soup, a simple root vegetable soup with a tasty crumb topping)
- Plus get more lunch recipes in the archives.
Wild mushroom soup
- 12 oz portobello mushrooms
- 8 oz crimini mushrooms
- 5 oz shitake mushrooms
- 4 oz onion (4oz is approx ½ large onion, 1 cup once diced)
- 2 oz leek (2oz is approx ¾ cup once chopped, approx 1 small)
- 3 tablespoon butter (approx)
- 3 stems thyme or less if large
- ½ teaspoon salt approx, to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper approx, to taste
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 2 tablespoon brandy
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock (see notes)
- ¼ cup heavy cream double cream, or light/single if you prefer or as available
- Rub clean the mushrooms with a damp cloth and trim off any tough ends (particularly from the shitake). Slice the mushrooms and cut slices into small chunks if large. Dice the onion and cut the leek in half then slice.
- Warm roughly 1tbsp (14g, ⅓) of the butter in a medium-large pot (around 3.5 - 4 quart/3.2 - 3.8 litres) over a medium heat and add the onion. Cook, stirring now and then, for a minute to start it softening then add the leek. Cook another 3 - 4 minutes until the onion is fairly opaque and softened.
- Add another 1 tablespoon of butter then the chopped mushrooms to the pot along with the thyme and some salt and pepper. Carefully stir, let the mushrooms cook down, stir again to bring some of the bottom layer up and get uncooked mushrooms down then cover.
- Let the mushrooms cook down for around 3 - 5 minutes, stirring now and then, until they have all become a darker color, are limp-looking and reduced in volume. You may need to add the additional butter during this time to help ensure they don't become too dry.
- Add the flour to the mushrooms and stir through to help absorb excess fat (also helps to thicken). Add the brandy and stir to cook off the alcohol.
- Pour in the stock, turn up the heat to bring to a simmer then cover and reduce the heat to keep it simmering rather than boiling heavily. Allow the soup to cook for around 8 - 10 minutes until all of the vegetables are cooked through. Remove the thyme stems and remove the pot from the heat.
- Either use an immersion blender in the pot or carefully transfer the soup to a blender and blend until smooth. Add the cream and stir through. Check the soup for seasoning and add a little more salt or pepper as needed. If the soup has cooled too much, warm through a little more but try not to boil after adding the cream then serve.
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