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Easy Cream of Mushroom Soup

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easy-cream-of-mushroom-soupHomemade cream of mushroom soup typically involves making a roux. While that’s not backbreaking kitchen labor, on busy weeknights (or, let’s face it, busy weekends), sometimes you want a rich, tasty soup that you can just dash off. This pared-down cream of mushroom soup recipe fits the bill. It’s a straightforward recipe that you can have ready to go in just over a half-hour and for most of that time you’re not doing anything but waiting, leaving you free to cut up some bread, have a glass of wine, or think about kittens. The end result is rich, creamy, and filling, perfect for winter day.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

5 cups crimini mushrooms, stems reserved and caps chopped (reserve several for garnish)
2 cups minced red onion
6 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons thyme leaves
3 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
1 quart chicken stock, mushroom stock or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Madeira (optional)
1/2 cup half and half

If you’d like to add a bit or mushroom broth to your soup, combine the reserved mushroom stems and 2 cups water, bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. I use a mix of mushroom and homemade chicken stock for mine and the flavor is great.

In a large stockpot, heat the butter over medium-high heat until it is bubbly and fragrant. Add the onions and saute for 7 minutes. Add the garlic and saute a minute more. Then add the mushrooms, saute for 7 minutes, and then stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Add the broth, lemon zest, thyme, salt, and pepper. Bring the soup almost to a boil and then turn heat to low and simmer for 20-30 minutes. Puree the soup, add the lemon juice and Madeira, if using, and check the salt levels. Turn off the heat and add the half and half.

Serve soup with a garnish of sliced mushroom, thyme sprigs, and a few shavings of Pecorino Romano. We like ours with grilled cheese, but garlic toast would be equally wonderful.

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