As I am writing this blog two weeks ahead of its post date (because, I am a blog writing machine) our weather is abnormally warm for this time of year in Iowa. This past weekend we had highs of 8 degrees, and then the temperature leaped into highs in the 50s and 60s.
Mother Nature is being extra generous this week. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, and the promise of spring has arrived.
I am absolutely loving the spring-like weather! My mind has turned to spring-time recipes bursting with fresh fruit, veggies, and herbs. Paul and I have dusted off the grill and savored the smell of hamburgers swirling into the fresh air.
Quick side note: One of the reasons we fell in love with our house was for its large backyard with a gazebo and a fire pit. It’s a double lot on the corner of the block. Paul and I both love spending time outside, so when we found a house that would allow us to have our own little oasis right out our back door we knew it was meant to be.
Let me paint a little picture for you. In our large, yet quirky backyard we have a porch that is detached from the house. We walk out our back door, over some cobblestones and walk up a few steps to arrive on our back porch. There are stairs that descend on the opposite side into the yard.
It was originally built to accommodate an above-ground pool. The pool has been removed, but the funny porch remains. Attached to the back of the porch is what looks like a wood fence giving us privacy from passersby on the street. It sounds like hodgepodge but it is all painted black and adorned with flowers in the front. When we found the house online it was advertised that it had a porch/stage in the backyard, which is exactly what it could be used for.
The reason I am telling you about our crazy detached porch/ stage is because the pathway to the porch has turned into a lake.
All of the snow and all of the ice has melted and flooded onto the cobblestones leading to the stairs of the porch. To walk around the porch to get to the stairs on the other side is not advised. Mushy, soggy yard equals mud on shoes.
Our grill is on that porch and with the nice weather we were desperate to take advantage of it. So Paul, being the logical problem solver he is, laid two 2 X 4s side by side over the said lake so that we could get to the porch without getting wet.
Not a bad idea but it posed its problems. The boards wobbled and slid and there were almost a few major spills.
Don’t judge. Have I mentioned that it has been a long winter?
Rambling over. Back to the creamy mushroom soup before I make you crave burgers instead.
I had scheduled to post some creamy mushroom soup in my editorial calendar a few weeks back when soup was still at the forefront of my mind. When it came time to make this soup and the weather had warmed so quickly, I briefly contemplated saving the recipe for fall or next winter.
Then I realized we live in I-O-W-A.
This warm weather in mid-March will not last. Soon, the temps will dip down a bit and we will have wintery weather for another week or two before spring weather is here to stay.
This creamy mushroom soup will be what we Midwesterners turn to for warmth to help us over the final cold-weather hump.
Have you ever ordered cream of mushroom soup at a restaurant and been incredibly disappointed because the soup was only half pureed, leaving chunks of mushrooms awkwardly floating around? It’s as if the soup wanted to be smooth and creamy but it was forgotten about half way through the puree process.
This is not that soup. This soup is pureed until perfectly smooth so that the fullness of each mushroom is released into the broth. All you need is a dash of half and half to add a hint of richness.
The texture is silky and luscious. The taste is bursting with sautéed buttery mushrooms. It is simple, elegant, and perfect as an appetizer or a side soup.
- 1 (4 ounce) stick of butter cut into 8 tablespoons, divided
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 20 ounces/1.25 pounds mushrooms, such as baby Bella and shitakes, wiped clean and chopped into 1 inch pieces *
- ¼ cup white rice flour
- 4 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
- 2 cups filtered water
- Sea Salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- ½ cup half and half (you could also use cream for a richer consistency)
- 1 tablespoon minced parsley for garnish, optional
- Heat a medium-sized stock pot over medium-low heat and melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallot and a sprinkle of sea salt. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
- Add about 1 to 2 cups of the mushrooms, depending on how large the base of your stock pot is. You don’t want to overcrowd the mushrooms or they won’t brown properly, so work in batches. Sauté the mushrooms for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until browned. Using a large spoon remove the mushrooms and shallots to a plate or bowl and set aside.
- Melt another tablespoon of the butter and add another cup or two of the mushrooms. If the one tablespoon of butter is not enough, add a teaspoon of vegetable or chicken stock. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. The mushrooms should be well browned. Remove the mushrooms and repeat the process until all of the mushrooms are browned.
- Once all of the mushrooms are browned and removed from the pot melt 3-4 tablespoons of butter into the sauce pot. Whisk in the white rice flour. Whisk constantly until the flour has browned and the raw rice flour smell has cooked off, about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Turn the heat up to high and slowly whisk the vegetable stock into the roux. Add 2 cups filtered water and the mushrooms and shallots back into the pot. Cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and uncover. Simmer for 15 minutes.
- Remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until smooth.
- Alternately you could transfer the soup to a blender and puree it in batches. Make sure to leave the lid askew and cover with a clean kitchen towel to allow the steam to escape so you don’t create a suction that will cause a soup explosion.
- Return the pureed soup to low heat. Add salt and pepper to taste, and the cayenne pepper (optional). Stir in the ½ cup half and half. Allow the soup to gently heat through.
- Serve the soup as a side to a meal or as an appetizer. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat gently.