Jillian R.
I love cooking. Always have. But it was during the past couple of years that I've truly started experimenting in the kitchen. My mom had always stocked our pantry with the basic ingredients; fresh produce, eggs, spices, just to name a few. However, my parents had never fixed our full sized oven at home, the 15 years (and counting) they have lived there. It was only two years ago which they brought down from storage a little toaster oven which I didn't even know existed.

It was then that I started baking batches of cookies and cakes which I then subject my family and friends to tasting. I tried but I couldn't develop a passion for all things sweet.

However, I do LOVE soups. And mushroom soup is one of my favorites. Today, let me share with you a simple recipe for a hearty, scrumptious Cream of Mushroom Soup. And yes, we're making it from scratch!

(This recipe makes 4 servings)
Here's what you need:-
- 6-8 fresh, large button mushrooms (or 1 can of mushrooms, if fresh ones are not readily available), chopped roughly (1)

- 2 button mushrooms, halved then sliced thinly (2)
- 1 big onion
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tsp dried basil leaves
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning (or mixed herbs - substitute)
- A dash of grown clove (optional)
- 2 tbsp flour
- 2 cups chicken broth/stock (cold)
- 1 cup milk (or 1/2 cup cream)
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and Black Pepper to taste

And here's how I make it:-
1) In a large saucepan or soup pot, lightly "toast" basil and Italian seasoning until the aroma hits you (do not brown).
2) Add butter. If butter is cold, help melt it with a spoon.
3) Once the butter melts, add onions and chopped mushrooms (1). Saute lightly then put the lid on, sweat for about 2-3 mins
4) By now, the mixture should smell amazing. Add flour, one tsp at a time. Stir until onions and mushrooms are coated.
5) Now, add cold chicken broth/stock, throw in bayleaf and bring to a boil. Then immediately switch to a simmer.

At this point, if I have the time, I will have it simmering for 20-30 mins to get all the flavors into the soup. But if I'm in a hurry or if either one of us are hungry, then 10 mins is all it takes.

6) Now, pick up the bayleaf, discard. Then with a perforated spoon (or any spoon you like really), scoop all the chunks into a blender leaving the liquid in the pot. Blend until the chunks become a smooth, thick mixture.
7) Pour the thick liquid back into the pot. Add milk and the sliced mushrooms (2), then once again, bring to a boil.
8) Lastly, add salt and pepper to taste

(Here's how it looks like)

I've made several versions of this recipe. Here are some useful notes:-
- If using shiitake mushrooms, it helps to only use half a recipe as I find the taste a bit too strong, overpowering the rest of the herbs.
- Add potatoes to the chopped mushrooms to make a chowder. Or add small bite size cubes together with the sliced mushrooms to make the soup "chunkier".
- The soup becomes very thick the following day, so heat it up in a saucepan with some milk.

Well, there's nothing else to do but to go make yourself a bowl of soup!


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