Sautéed mushrooms blended with beef broth make a rich, velvety Cream of Mushroom Soup that includes just a touch of dairy.
Mushroom soup is generally a very simple recipe with many variations that can take it in any number of directions. To a base fungi cooked in a little butter with aromatics such as onion, shallots or garlic is added a rich broth, minimal spices, and finished with a thorough purée and a choice of dairy product.
This particular recipe is adapted from Brian Luscher of The Grape in Dallas. Luscher has kept this item on his menu at the request of his loyal customers since the urban bistro opened in 1972. So confident is Luscher in the quality of this famous local dish, his recipe has been released publicly and published widely in the North Texas area for many years. Only very slight changes for proportion have been made here.
The variety of mushrooms used is the most common variable, but do not waste exotic or expensive products on a dish whose destiny is to be blended smooth. Cremini (Agaricus bisporus, also known as portobello or “baby bella”) are inexpensive and popular, and lend enough flavor and body for a satisfying dish. Use the mature brown mushrooms rather than the immature white for best flavor.
Chicken stock or vegetable broth may be substituted if desired, but the overall flavor will be diminished accordingly as beef and mushrooms are a natural combination. Just a touch of dairy (cream, milk, yogurt) is necessary, to taste, and a small splash of liqueur is essential.
Serve as an appetizer or soup course with toasted bread for dipping.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
10 oz cremini mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
½ white onion
½ c flour
4 c beef broth
4 T butter
½ c half-and-half
2 T brandy
1 bay leaf
1 Chop the onion and garlic and sauté in the butter until translucent, about 5 min. Add a bay leaf and a pinch of thyme.
2 Roughly slice the mushrooms and add to the base. Cook until they release most of their water, about 10 min.
3 Work in the flour over low heat. Slowly whisk in the broth and the brandy. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 min, stirring occasionally.
4 Remove the bay leaf and purée in batches until smooth.
5 Finish by stirring in the dairy and a touch of nutmeg. Season to taste.