If you're in the mood for cream of mushroom, a homemade cream of mushroom soup recipe is the way to go. Nothing can compare with the flavor of homemade. The cans are handy and versatile, but on their own... well, they pale in comparison!
It's a bit more work than just grabbing a can opener, but it's not actually all that hard — and it's so worth it! Just try it once and you'll never want to go back.
This cream of mushroom soup recipe is really versatile. You can use any kind of mushroom you like, and each will give its own subtle flavor to the soup. Don't be afraid to experiment. If you want to know more, check out our article on making cream soups.
And now for the recipe!
In a skillet, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat, and saute half the mushrooms until they start to turn golden. Set aside.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt 1 tbsp of butter over medium heat. Saute the onion, leek, garlic and remaining mushrooms until the onion is soft and translucent.
Add the chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Puree the mushroom/stock mixture, and set it aside in a bowl.
In the pot, melt the remaining butter over medium-low heat. Sprinkle in the flour, and whisk until it's smooth — this is called the roux. Cook the roux until it starts to smell nutty, and loses the smell of raw flour.
The roux will be like a thick paste. If it's too thick, you can add more butter. If it's too thin, you can add more flour.
Add the milk to the roux, pouring it in slowly in a thin stream. Whisk constantly to keep it smooth. Let the mixture come to a boil, then simmer until it's thick and smooth, whisking often.
If you need, stop pouring the milk and whisk until it's smooth again, then start pouring again. It's easier to get lumps out when there's less liquid.
Incorporate the mushroom puree and the reserved sauteed mushrooms. Stir until it's well blended.
Season to your taste with the thyme, salt, and pepper.
The reason you saute half the mushrooms at the beginning is to add them later, for texture. But if you prefer a smooth soup, you can skip that step and just saute all the mushroom in step 2.
This cream of mushroom soup recipe uses chicken stock. The gelatin in it gives the soup a better texture, and helps carry flavors. But if you want a vegetarian soup, you can use a vegetable stock, too... just make sure it's very mildly flavored, otherwise it'll overshadow the flavor of the mushrooms.
I usually use 1% milk, but you can use anything from cream to skim milk. If you use cream though, you don't have to put as much, and you can cut down on the amount of flour. It'll be thicker and richer on its own.