This past Saturday, I made vegetable broth. Then I made vegan cream of mushroom soup.
It’s fall, damn it, and I’m still excited about these things. I keep foreshadowing ominously to the winter months, when all that we eat is the equivalent of soup in various formats (squash soup, lentil soup, chowders, chilis, curries…), but the important thing to remember is that I’ve just made my year’s worth of vegetable broth (and froze it in ice cube trays for conveniently sized portions), and it’s time to make soup!
Cream of mushroom soup, that is—vegan cream of mushroom soup.
I don’t like mushrooms. Well, I don’t like mushrooms as much as I like other…foods. (Because mushrooms aren’t a vegetable—they’re fungi—I can’t in good faith say, ‘I don’t like mushrooms as much as other vegetables.’)
Maybe it was because the only mushrooms that were known to me in my formative years of existence were the white button kind, and those are the mushroom equivalent of Velveeta ‘cheese’ product. (I’m being a bit unfair, but really, there are so many kinds of mushrooms out there—why do people expect everything standardised and perfectly predictable?)
I still have an instinctive cringe towards mushrooms, but once I take a step back to think about them, I remember how delicious they can be.
I’d enjoyed stuffed mushrooms since high school—and make some mean ones—and have since added whole new worlds of mushroom enjoyment to the space within my horizons: vegan beef stroganoff, for one, mushroom risotto, and now this delicious vegan cream of mushroom soup.
I’m not sure that I’ll ever elect for a portobello cap over a real, homemade vege burger, nor will I instantly gravitate towards the thing with mushrooms in it on the menu, but if that thing with mushrooms were this cream of mushroom soup, then I’d remember to think twice.
Enjoy this soup all curled up with people whom you love. Invite them all over—soups are meant to be shared. (On that note, I hope that you liked it, Vic!)
And a final note, before you fall into a false sense of security and start feeling all warm and fuzzy about mushrooms: nothing about cleaning mushrooms will ever not suck.
Note: When cleaning mushrooms, you can’t submerge them in water or they’ll soak it up, which means that they’ll soak up less of the flavour from whatever you’re cooking them in. The best way to clean them is to scrub them with a dry towel or sponge. Make your sous chef do this; it sucks.
Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup Recipe
By November 22, 2011Published:
- Yield: 6-8 Servings
- Prep: 15 mins
- Cook: 35 mins
- Ready In: 50 mins
This soup is a perfect mix of earthiness and creaminess. It makes for a pretty presentation and a perfect accompaniment to any Thanksgiving or other vegan holiday meal. It goes well with the hearty white wine used in the soup; something green, like vegan spinach-artichoke dip; or fresh bruschetta if you can find tomatoes.
- 1 oz dried mushrooms (30 g) I used porcini, but any nice earthy ones work
- 1/2 c cashews
- 60 g soy-free Earth Balance (EB) (1/2 stick, 1/4 c, 4 T)
- 2 sprigs rosemary Leaves picked and chopped
- few sprigs thyme Leaves picked
- 2 medium leeks Cleaned and thinly sliced (discard dark green parts)
- 3 cloves garlic Minced
- salt and paprika To taste
- 680 g mushrooms (any variety) (1.5 lbs, 2/3 kilo, 24 oz) Cleaned/brushed and thinly sliced (I used crimini, shiitake, and some kind of 'exotic mix' or something hilarious like that, since there's a dearth of mushroom options when there's no Whole Foods nearby)
- 3 c (homemade) vegetable broth
- half glass dry white wine
- pepper Freshly cracked, to taste
- chives For garnish
- Boil some water and use it to just cover the dried mushrooms and cashews (in separate bowls). Let these hang out while you do some work.
- Melt the butter in a medium soup pot over medium-high heat. When melted, add the rosemary and thyme. Let them sizzle for a few seconds to infuse, but make sure that they don't begin to turn colour and burn.
- Add the leeks and garlic to the pan and revel in the fact that you're not cooking with boring yellow onions.
- When the leeks are aromatic and a nice, bright green, add a little salt and paprika to taste.
- While the leeks are sautéing, remove the rehydrated mushrooms from the water (or drain, but reserve the mushroom water) and give them a little rinse. Chop them finely.
- Add the mushrooms (both the rehydrated and the fresh) and let them cook until they've given off much of their creepy mushroom water (it's creepy, period), which will mostly evaporate off.
- While the mushrooms are creepily oozing, drain the cashews and add them to a blender. Blend with 1/2 c water for a few minutes, until smooth and no longer grainy when rubbed between your fingers.
- Add the cashew cream, vegetable broth, wine, and reserved mushroom water (from rehydrating the dried mushrooms) to the pot. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
- I recommend partially blending for a smooth texture that still has some mushroom bits. Alternatively, blend completely it for a perfectly smooth soup, but I'm not really a fan of blended soups (unless we're talking tomato). Or serve chunky for a rustic (read: lazy) style.
- Season with pepper, and more salt and paprika if desired.
- Garnish with chives and share! You could also garnish with fancy sliced mushrooms or a crack of black pepper.