Being the painful nerd that I was, I participated in a trip with People to People International in middle school. At the tender age of 13 (14?), I left the loving embrace of my parents and under minimal adult supervision, wandered the streets of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. One day I will tell the story of my near death at the hands of Socialist medicine, but today, we focus on Bex.
Bex was the daughter of the Murrays, a wonderful English family I spent 5 days with while I was in the English countryside. She and I hit it off quite well, and she came to Rhode Island the summer after I met her for her first trip to the states. She loved the mall and Fenway Park; frankly, this is the best this country really has to offer anyway.
The summer after she visited us, I once again visited her in the UK and her parents generously took me to France during my visit. I really am grateful for this trip, because her family largely subsidized the voyage. We stayed in the Saumur in the wine region and it was one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I ate horse (please spare me your preaching) and her parent’s coaxed me into drinking my first alcoholic beverage, a bourbon ginger (sorry Mom).
During one of our day trips (we needed to do something between eating croissants and jam), we visited a mushroom cave. Being 15, I found mushrooms disgusting, though I don’t think this was based in any real experience with them. I was a stubborn kid who was scared of trying new things; thankfully, I have outgrown this. At the end of the tour, her parents bought excessive amounts of mushrooms and cooked with them the rest of the trip. I am full of regret that I did not participate in eating all this fungus.
Luckily, I have outgrown my aversion to mushrooms. I do know it is one of those things where you love ’em or hate ’em. I threw together this soup last week after the craving for some mushrooms struck me. I looked over a dozen recipes and this is a mix of all them. The skim milk keeps it light, while the flour helps thicken it. Cream could be substituted for the milk for a richer soup. The white wine adds some depth and I love using the shallots for a more delicate onion flavor. If you have an onion on hand, about 1/4 cup of minced onions can be easily substituted. Served with some crusty bread, this really hits the spot and reheats well for a light lunch.
Cream of Mushroom Soup
A Lemmonex Original
I Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 shallots, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2–8 oz. packages sliced mushrooms
Generous splash on white wine (~3 Tablespoons)
2 Tablespoons flour
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dry thyme)
1 quart low sodium chicken stock (or vegetable)
1 pint skim milk
Salt and Pepper
Heat oil in large soup pot. Add shallots and garlic and saute for 4 minutes, until translucent. Add mushrooms and saute for another 5 minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Add wine and cook for 1 minute. Add flour and thyme and cook for 1 minute. Add chicken broth and milk and cook for about 8-10 minutes, at medium heat. Puree with immersion blender or in a counter top blender, leaving some chunks of mushroom. Salt and pepper to taste.