Rustic mushroom soup


Carolyne 2014By Carolyne

What to do when you have three large white button mushrooms that have been in the fridge for two days? Still firm and white, but these mushrooms don’t have a long shelf life.

I mostly use these, sliced quite thin, once over lightly in a very hot skillet, sautéed in butter. Most people overcook mushrooms. Even Martha does. I can’t bear to watch her doing mushrooms.

So, like the parsimonious French, never wanting to waste, I decided to make soup. From only three mushrooms? Yes. The soup will keep for a few more days in the fridge. Keep the base in a covered container and you can feed four people, using only three mushrooms.

Start by saving deglaze from a skillet you have used to brown your steak. Add a couple of cups of water to that pan and bring to a roaring boil. Turn down the heat and simmer, scraping the bits stuck to the pan. If you don’t use this right away, store in the fridge for a few days, in a covered container. It comes in handy for many uses. It’s a great way to clean your pan and you can freeze the broth to use on another day.

After you have seared the mushroom slices (no salt) and sprinkled them with a bit of dried thyme (not too much; it’s very powerful and overtakes other flavours easily), add a couple of cups of your beef deglaze stock.

Peel two cloves of garlic. Add them whole. They will dissolve. Add a half peeled medium white onion to the pot. Peel and add a medium large potato cut in quarters.

Now add salt, the same way you would if boiling potatoes. Cover the pot and simmer until the potatoes are just done. Don’t let the liquid disappear. If you reduce it too much, just add a little water and bring it back to a simmer.

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You can pop the covered pot, once cooled a little, into the fridge and save it until it’s ready to eat or you can purée it in your machine and then store. You have a great cream of mushroom soup base.

You can use the base immediately, but it is even tastier a day later. Store it in a covered fridge container.

To complete your rustic cream of mushroom soup, scald half-and-half cream. About a cup and a half should do. Let it rise and fall three times. The cream will thicken slightly. Then add the base to the hot thickened cream, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine. Do not boil.

It’s difficult to store after adding to the cream, so save that procedure until you know you are ready to serve. If the soup is for a special treat, serve it in a rustic open-face bowl, with a small dollop of sour cream with just the tiniest drizzle of real maple syrup, just when serving. You might like a couple of grinds of fresh black pepper on top.

A nice slice of crusty toasted open-face baguette swiped with a little garlic butter or herbed butter from my butter collection will make this a memorable soup for your guests.

Otherwise, perhaps serve it in an oversized cup. It’s great to keep on hand for sipping by the fire on a cold night.

The working title for Carolyne’s Gourmet Recipes cookbook is From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks. This kitchen-friendly doyenne has been honoured and referred to as the grande dame of executive real estate in her market area during her 35-year career. She taught gourmet cooking in the mid-70s and wrote a weekly newspaper cooking column, long before gourmet was popular as it is today. Her ebook, Gourmet Cooking - at Home with Carolyne is available here for $5.99 US. Email Carolyne. Scroll down to the comments at each recipe column. Carolyne often adds complimentary "From Lady Ralston's Kitchen" additional recipes in the Recipes for Realtors Comments section at REM.


  1. A small survival effort during the Covid-season…
    There’s nothing more simple to make and lift the spirits. If anyone is feeling under the weather any homemade soup or broth will be welcome. (You could even add a tablespoon of cognac.) Even if you order in a meal, save the bones. Freeze them to make broth.

    Before you puree the rustic mushroom soup base, fill a cup with the base beef mushroom broth and heat it to a perfect temperature. It can be breakfast, lunch or supper when you don’t feel up to eating real food, and provides liquid sustenance that sits nicely in the stomach. Just sip the broth gradually.

    If you are up for it, dip toasted buttered soldiers in the broth. If you happen to have stored homemade rosti (see my keuka and sweet potato mash rosti), it is wonderful dipped in broth or warmed and topped with cold full fat sour cream for a special treat. Light but filing and easy to digest. Sated-survival basic food, the rosti can be kept covered refrigerated for several days, and the mushroom beef broth can be frozen in single servings.

    The mushroom base can be frozen but not once you have added the reduced thickened cream. Once you store the creamed soup, it will only keep at most a couple of days in the fridge. Just gently whisk if it separates; it reheats easily. But careful not to burn.

    © “From Lady Ralston’s Kitchen: A Canadian Contessa Cooks” | Turning everyday meal making into a Gourmet Experience


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