Cream of mushaboom

All that talk about Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom the other day gave me a hankering for my own version of creamy mushroom goodness.

I have a copy of the 1960 edition of Elizabeth David’s French Provincial Cooking, which is said to have changed how the British cooked, just like how Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking is said to have changed the way Americans cook.  I found my copy for $3.50 in a used bookstore that has gone defunct a few times over; when I saw it I clutched it to my chest just in case anyone else spied it and wanted to fight me for it.

Ms David suggests using bread instead of flour to offer slight thickening to the soup, which she says is the “old-fashioned way.”  Intriguing.  I did follow her advice on this, but from thereon I strayed, as I am apt to do.

And Campbell’s is never too far away: I used a carton of their salt-free beef broth as my liquid of choice.

Elizabeth David-esque cream of mushroom soup

Cut about 4-6 handfuls of button mushrooms into small pieces.  Finely dice a small onion.  Melt a generous blob of butter in a large pot and add the onions.  When they soften and become translucent, add the mushrooms.  Stir occasionally and let them soften and shrink.  Meanwhile, soak a crustless piece of bread in some of the beef broth.  When the mushrooms look well acquainted with the onions, add the bread and smush it into the mushrooms.  Add about a litre of beef broth (or however much is in one of those cartons of broth), and bring to a boil.  Add 500 ml of cream (I used 18%), and crack in some salt and black pepper.  You could stick it in the blender and lightly pulse it to break up the mushroom pieces a bit more, but I didn’t bother.  A light sprinkle of nutmeg or scatter of fresh parsley is a nice garnish.

I was so hungry I finished half the bowl before I remembered to take a photo.


The lighting of the photo makes it look grey and insipid, but it was creamy and soothing, with refreshing chunks of mushroomyness.  Yum.