Cream of mushroom soup is a favorite in our house because of the abundance and variety of wild mushrooms we are blessed with almost all year round in the Pacific Northwest, at local farmer’s markets and grocery stores. This soup combines earthiness, creaminess and yet is naturally low-fat! Serve it with any crispy or toasted bread, homemade foccacia, flat bread, you name it. Anything will do to clean up the bottom of the bowl and soak up the last drops.
Some of the mushrooms we like to buy are fresh golden chanterelles, oyster mushrooms, shiitake, king bolete (a.k.a cepe), cauliflower mushroom, and lion’s mane (one of our favorite, so good for you too!)
Not only do mushrooms make the best addition to many dishes but they are vital to the health of all forests and healthy soil for growing food. Without mushrooms to decompose organisms, plants couldn’t survive! In fact, mushrooms thrived under the surface of the earth 800 million years ago, way before any other organism could live on the surface! The more you study them, the more they truly extraordinary they become! It was Paul Stamet who opened my eyes to this wondrous world and his book Mycelium Running. But I digress! Back to cooking!
Don’t worry, if you can’t find any of the fresh wild mushrooms listed, you can still make a great cream of mushroom soup (not the one from a can though!) with white caps or crimini mushrooms and some dried porcinis! Dry porcinis are affordable and easy to find and add a wonderful depth to any sauce or dish once you rehydrate them and use the soaking liquid.
Are mushrooms healthy?
Mushrooms are a great source of B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid which help the heart, red blood cells, and digestion. They are also rich in antioxidants like selenium, vitamin C, and choline. So they are much more than fun pizza toppings!
Fun Facts on Mushrooms
- Mushrooms are 90% water and low calory food!
- Portabello mushrooms, button mushrooms, and white mushrooms are actually the same type of mushrooms but at different levels of maturity.
- White truffles are the most expensive mushrooms in the world. A few pounds can be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars!
- A 20-foot mushroom fossil was discovered in Saudi Arabia that died 350 million years ago! It was so large that it was thought to be a conifer! Pretty cool for a humble fungus!
What is the largest living organism on the planet?
1. The Amazon rainforest.
2. A giant “honey mushroom” in Oregon.
3. The coral reef.
4. A giant sequoia called General Sherman in California’s Sequoia National Park that is 52,500 cubic feet in volume!
Answer at the end.
Dairy-free low-fat rich cream of mushroom soup
- 2 cups fresh mushrooms Crimini, portobellos, chanterelles etc.
- 3-4 dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 medium onion
- 1 large potato
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cups vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1-2 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Soak the dried porcini mushroom in 1/2 cup of boiling water for 5 minutes making sure that they are submerged.
- Mince the onion and the garlic and stir-fry in a little olive oil until translucent.
- Inspect the fresh mushrooms and remove any debris, needles. Slice them.
- Add the mushrooms to the onion mixture and the balsamic vinegar and stir to coat. Cook on medium heat for a few minutes.
- Set aside a few slices of mushrooms.
- In a separate pot, heat up the broth and add the potato that has been cubed. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the stir-fried mushrooms, the dry porcini and the soaking liquid to the pot. Cook for another few minutes.
- Pour everything into a blender ad pulse to obtain a smooth creamy texture.
- Serve immediately into bowls, place a few slices of mushrooms on top.
The best part is that you can even use it on pasta the next day so make sure to make extra, you won't regret it!
Trivia Answer: #3
A 2400-year old giant “honey mushroom” in Oregon that covers 2200 acres! How about that!