Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup

Life in a rural setting can get kind of weird sometimes. Like having to wrangle all your chickens one morning after they escape during the night, having spent the whole time staring into their yard trying to figure out how to get back in. Chickens are unbelievably brilliant you know.

All sarcasm aside, I truly appreciate their efforts every morning when I bound down to the little door and find presents inside. I’m not sure how the hens feel about this activity, but to me, it’s like Christmas every morning only there’s the somewhat unattractive ammonia/barnyard scent to overcome instead of gingerbread and peppermint.

I think the best part of all is teaching Cohen and Isla that food production can be something you control, and not simply left in the hands of aproned strangers standing behind deli counters and produce displays.

This year I’ve decided to actually put some effort into our produce growing. Our garden last year left me wanting as we just picked random seed packets without really researching whether or not those plants would grow well in our setting. This year, I plan to buy all our seeds from Salt Spring Seeds (a local company that grows and harvests all it’s own product) and am eagerly perusing their catalogue this week for strange but delicious sounding heirloom varieties. Of what? Whatever will grow in my neck of the woods. Corn? Not really doing so good in my shady garden. Pole beans? Take up too much room and we didn’t care for them enough. Lettuce? Of course, but this time no “mystery mixes” of terrible tasting bitter greens.

We plan on putting the emphasis on local this year and by producing as much as we can in our own garden, we’ll save ourselves money and time. Having the closest grocery store be at least 25 minutes away (by car) does not help keep driving down when you forget that that curry needs a touch of coconut milk and you have not a drop to be seen in the pantry.

I love our rural setting, and I want to help keep it as beautiful as possible. I can only do so much, so growing and eating our own produce will be one of those life lessons I gift to my children. I hope they can learn to appreciate food as much as I do. Though that task is easier said than done when you are just starting out. When Cohen was first starting solids, he was a champ, he’d eat anything in front of him and demand more. Well, this little lady prefers fruits and nothing but. Though sometimes she’s willing to gnaw on the thigh bone of a chicken, she rarely takes to eating the good bits. As fun as it is to see these faces every day when I plunge a tiny spoon in her mouth, what would make me happiest is not washing three quarters of it down the drain because she hated it after three bites.

Anyone with advice on how to turn my picky eaters into little gourmands is welcome to leave me a comment, or a novel. Please, help me. I’m desperate.

I know one day it won’t matter, and my kids will be happily slurping away on their steaming bowls of chicken pho at a local eatery, while I happily gaze upon them. Right now though, I just try to get through each day, because it’s the little things that we tend to not appreciate.

Like the setting sun shining down on my family’s faces and the giggle of a tiny baby.

So while I wallow in self pity at not having the “eat everything” kids I always wanted, at least I’m comforted in the fact that they’ll know where the food they hate comes from.

One thing I won’t be attempting to grow this year though is mushrooms. I think they may be slightly advanced for this not-so green thumbed gardener. So I will continue to forage for certain varieties but the rest will come from local growers.

For this soup, I used shiitake, oyster and white button mushrooms, but try using other varieties as well. Portobello, porcini, morel or even chanterelles in season, would also flesh out the flavours and make for an exotic bowl of comforting soup.

One Year Ago: Barley Risotto with Peas

Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup

Yield: 3 litres of soup or 4-5 large servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes

1 sweet onion, diced
2 celery stalks, sliced
125g oyster mushrooms (or other fresh wild mushrooms)
350 grams white or brown mushrooms, diced or sliced
4 oz dried shiitake mushrooms soaked for 45 minutes in 3 cups water (reserve 2 cups)
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
kosher salt to taste
fresh cracked pepper to taste
1 tsp dried or 1 tbsp fresh thyme
3 cups 1% milk
1/4 cup heavy cream (33-35%)
1 litre chicken stock (or vegetable for vegetarian option)
2 tbsp cornstarch (optional)
4 tbsp water (optional)
1. In large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add all vegetables (onion, celery and all mushrooms). Sauté for 5-10 minutes or until vegetables begin to soften. Stir in salt, pepper and thyme.
2. Sprinkle flour over and stir to combine, cook for 2-4 minutes.
3.  Add small amount of stock, stir into flour. Gradually add more stock until it is all added (including mushroom stock).
4. Pour in milk and cream and bring up to just below simmering. Cook for 45 minutes but do not allow soup to boil. If it does boil, the milk and cream may separate from the stock.  If this happens, you can still eat it, although it may look slightly unappetizing to some.
5. If you want a thicker consistency (more like a true cream soup) follow these instructions: About 5-10 minutes before you are ready to eat, mix the cornstarch and water together in a cup. Pour contents into soup and allow to cook for five minutes before serving.
6. Serve with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt if desired.

Similarly delicious recipes from other fabulous food blogs:

Garlic Mushroom Soup on eCurry
Mushroom Stroganoff Soup on The Perfect Pantry
Zuppa di Funghi (Mushroom Soup) on Bell’alimento
Bacon Polenta with Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms & Thyme on Cookin’ Canuck
Pancetta Wrapped Mushrooms on Recipe Girl

35 comments to Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • How comforting would this be on a cold winter day!? I love how you used a mixture of both dried and fresh mushrooms – it makes this soup burst with flavour!
    - Brittany
    Mushrooms Canada recently posted..National Cheese Lovers Week and other foodie holidaysMy Profile

  • Oh yes, feeding kids. It’s an adventure! The first one was like yours…anything shoved in her direction got gobbled down. My second one isn’t quite as good but I’m working on him. Just keep offering the veggies and other foods. She’ll get it! Sometimes it helps to drown the hated food in applesauce. Other times, just try again the next day. My most recent escapade was with baked beans. I know the pot I made wasn’t all that exciting but still, I ate them. The baby? Not so much. He screamed every time I made him keep a bite in his mouth. I eventually just gave up. We’ll try again another day!

    And good for you for venturing into gardening! I grew up doing it with my parents but I’m not so sure I would have tackled it myself without all the info already ingrained in my head!

    I wish I could find some sources of local mushrooms. There is one but it’s an hour away and not in a direction I EVER travel. And they only have portobellos and button mushrooms…not a big variety. I’ll just have to keep looking! Thanks for always inspiring me to be a more conscientious cook!
    ZoeDawn recently posted..Ultra Chocolate Chocolate Chip CookiesMy Profile

  • I can definitely go for a bowl. As for princess, I bet she just has a sensitive palate right now, which will be in her favour when she grows up!
    Melody Fury recently posted..Melody Fury Spits- breakfast makes you fat- Wendy’s dumps Arby’s- Mark Bittman quits boring me- bite me Bon Appétit!My Profile

    • Elizabeth

      Yes! I am hoping for a sensitive palate that gets lots of use as she ages. As for Cohen, I think we’re already there. He thinks everything is “too salty”!

  • I can’t tell you how much I have been craving mushroom soup, but have held off on eating it because it’s often so heavy. And then…Elizabeth to the rescue!

  • Your posts always put a smile on my face :-)
    Always love the genuineness of your writing and photos as well! Thanks for making my morning happy!
    Prerna@IndianSimmer recently posted..Clementine TiramisuMy Profile

  • LOVE LOVE those mesmerizing photo’s makes me want to run out in the woods and just play and then sit on then get a bowl out of this yummy mushroom soup. Your kids are adorable.
    Delishhh recently posted..RoquamoleMy Profile

  • Anne LaRocque

    good morning1 The soup sounds awesome and I will give it a try. Mushroom has always been my favourite. I made your Ooregano baked chicken last night and it was superb! Best chicken i ever ate!

  • Lovely mix of mushrooms in the soup – and this is one of my favorites!!!
    Ah, feeding children – some kids are just better eaters than others – that is the way they come!! As a mom to an almost 18 yr. old and a 15 yr. old my advice is to always offer the foods, but don’t make a big deal about it. When mine were old enough to understand, the rule in our house was “you only have to TRY everything – if you truly don’t like it you don’t have to eat it”. I struggled with vegetables with my youngest – then I started roasting everything and … I had a winner! Best moment was when he was coming home from camp and called me requesting “roasted bell peppers and asparagus”..Score!!!
    Nancy@acommunaltable recently posted..Zucchini Bread… and a winner!!My Profile

  • These pictures brought a huge smile to my face. They are not just beautiful images, but capture so honestly the love you have for your family.

    And this soup…. it’s the icing on the cake. What more do you need in life?

  • How I wouldn’t love to have the space to grow my own fruits and vegetables, but space is short where I live in LA and having a garden is a luxury. Your kids are really lucky to be raised in that environment where they really get to be in touch with what they eat and where it’s coming from, they might not appreciate it now but they will later.
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen recently posted..french vegetable soup the soup that changed my mindMy Profile

    • Elizabeth

      I really do hope so Sylvie. I managed to get my son to enjoy raw carrots while in the garden and he still eats them now, so my fingers are crossed for next year’s fava beans and pumpkins!

  • My daughter was always a fussy eater but when at 2 she would eat spanakopita without question I knew there was hope and yet she would eat only Liptons and salami until her late teen years. No she has far surpassed me in the cooking sense and have a much more adventurous palate.

  • Mr. Guilty

    Soup was amazing, pictures are even better Elizabeth. Dont worry, we will make fooche bags out of them yet! I mean you turned me!

  • I guessed from our twitter chat yesterday that we have a lot in common- wow I love your blog and don’t know why I haven’t been reading before now…
    I garden and have chickens, too- and I also feel like the eggs I retrieve every day are such a gift.
    I hear you when you say “at least they’ll know where the food they hate comes from”! But take heart- my daughter is 9 and told me for a long time that she preferred school lunch to my cooking. It was so disheartening. But recently she is really coming around. Won’t eat school lunch anymore (realizes it’s gross), wants to try new foods every day lately and is even surprising herself when she likes something she thought she’d hate. So don’t give up. Keep feeding them the good stuff- they will appreciate it some day, I promise :)
    ps your mushroom soup looks fantastic
    Winnie recently posted..Winter Squash Chutney and a GiveawayMy Profile

    • Elizabeth

      Welcome Winnie, isn’t it funny how you can know someone on Twitter and yet may have never read the reason they are on twitter in the first place in this case my blog? It’s good to have you though and I will take your advice to heart. I will just bide my time and wait for the kids to come around.

  • Just stumbled upon your blog and its wonderful. I hope to try your Cream of Mushroom Soup soon. As for feeding kids, it’s definitely a challenge. I have an 18 month old, and everyday he basically changes his mind with what he’ll eat. The main thing I’ve stuck to is that I make one meal for dinner. If he doesn’t eat it, then he doesn’t eat dinner. Making him other foods instead will only turn me into a short-order cook. I also let him play with the food. I give him utensils that he can try (baby forks, baby spoons, or regular size forks or spoons), and I also try to sit down and eat with him. Oftentimes he won’t want the food from his own bowl, but he’s willing to try whatever I’m eating.

    Each day brings new adventures, but you just do the best you can! I blog about the things that work and don’t work with my son, so feel free to stop by and check it out (www.mostlyhealthymom.blogspot.com).

    Best,
    Ali
    (Mostly) Healthy Mom recently posted..New FoodsMy Profile

    • Elizabeth

      Thank you so much for that. I have been making a second meal because I’m afraid to send a 7 month old to bed with no dinner. Am I making the same mistakes I made with my son? Ugh…I hope not. I will try this out for tonight and see how it goes!

  • Your photographs are all so beautiful!

  • This soup has delicious and comfort written all over it!
    Eliana recently posted..Maple Walnut PieMy Profile

  • talk about feeding kids. my older one will eat anything and her meals as a baby were gone in less than 15 minutes. with my little one, i am still going thru a lot. the positive side? makes me creative :-)

    Love your version of the mushroom soup! comfort comfort comfort for me.

    Thanks a bunch for the link Elizabeth. and thanks for sharing those adorable pictures.:-)
    Soma recently posted..Curried Navy Bean SoupMy Profile

  • Yum! From a mushroom lover’s perspective, that soup looks delicious. And lightened up?! Great for the body too! Have you tried other wild mushrooms? I can often find shaggy mane’s in my area, so maybe those would work in the wild section.
    Ruby (Fungus Fun) recently posted..Monotropa uniflora Indian PipeMy Profile

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MushroomChannel, Elizabeth Nyland. Elizabeth Nyland said: Lightened up and packed with mushroom flavour, this cream of mushroom soup is healthy and guilt free. http://fb.me/QZbLB9GZ [...]

  • [...] One year ago: Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup [...]

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