A nice bowl of this rich tasting creamy soup goes well with some Keebler Club® crackers and butter on a cold winter day, so I decided to make a really good batch, enjoy it and add it to Food Nirvana. I created this recipe and I'm proud of it, for it is very simple to make and delicious. My stimulus for making the soup was total annoyance with the Campbell Soup Company® for being so cheap in providing mushrooms in their soup. But I use their soup as a base for mine. Why not? Enjoy!
Note: Due to the simplicity of this recipe I did not originally include any directions for freezing this cream soup, the point being that total preparation time is only about ten minutes. My great friend, Den, asked what the cook could do to use fresh mushrooms and also make the soup in quantity for later use, and then vacuum seal and freeze portions of the soup, without destroying the creamy character during later reheating of thawed packs of the soup. Look at the variation to this recipe provided at the end of this recipe's directions to address that method.
Ingredients: (makes about a quart of soup)
1, 10 1/4 oz. can of Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom Soup
2, 4 oz. drained weight cans of sliced mushrooms, drained
4 oz. of heavy cream
1 pint of milk
1 tbsp. of butter
1/4 tsp. of white pepper
1/4 tsp. of sea salt
1 tsp. of corn starch
Simply mix all of the ingredients in a large saucepan (I like to use a wooden spoon) and heat the mixture to a simmer on medium heat while stirring.
When the soup thickens and barely starts to boil it is done. Remove the saucepan from the heat.
Serve. You will be very pleased.
Variation: If you want to make the soup in quantity for vacuum sealing and freezing, and in particular use fresh mushrooms instead of canned mushrooms then follow the alternative directions/ingredients shown next.
This is a two part recipe, in which the mushrooms are washed, cleaned and sliced and are then pre-cooked in chicken broth during the first part. The recommended steps for cleaning vary by type of mushroom used. For example, the stems of shitake mushrooms should be cut off and discarded (the stems are rubbery). The gills of portabella mushrooms should be scraped off with a spoon and discarded (they create a muddy taste). In all cases, no matter what type of fresh mushrooms are used, the tough base of the stems should be cut off and discarded.
After cleaning and slicing vertically into 1/4" thick slices, simmer the mushrooms in just enough chicken broth to barely cover them. As they will float you have to press them down to determine the right amount of chicken broth to use, and cover the saucepan while they are cooking so the steam cooks the pieces floating on top of the liquid. After they are cooked, about ten minutes at a 200+ degrees F simmer/low boil, remove the mushrooms to a bowl and put the broth on low heat to evaporate half of the liquid, then remove the remaining concentrated broth from the heat, allowing it to cool to room temperature.
Add the appropriate amount of white pepper, sea salt and corn starch, per the above recipe, to the cooled concentrated broth, based on the expected number of quarts of mushroom soup that will eventually be made. Mix well and add the cooked mushroom slices. Mix again and then vacuum seal and freeze the partially made soup in packets that will each yield one quart of soup when all other ingredients have been added. Thus, I suggest using a quantity of seasoned broth and mushrooms in each vacuum sealed pack that are amenable to the ingredient proportions shown above in the original recipe, or at least some recorded multiple thereof.
When it is time to make a quart of the soup, simply thaw a frozen packet and proceed with the above recipe, but do not discard the chicken broth. Instead, increase the cream to 6 ounces and eliminate as much milk as necessary to compensate for the volume of chicken broth. Make the soup and if it is not sufficiently thick then add a small amount of cornstarch that has been mixed with milk, and heat the soup to a simmer to thicken it, but do not let it boil.
It is clear that this second recipe differs materially from the first one, yet the final result should be quite delicious. In effect, the flavor of the concentrated chicken broth and the extracted flavor of the sliced mushrooms in that broth, will provide a most tasty improvement to, (ugh!), Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom Soup, in flavor, consistency and, when all ingredients are combined, mushroom content.
The given method assures that milk and cream never hit the freezer, which is the optimal way to make and later use a cream soup.