Friday, March 8, 2013

Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

Did you know that mushrooms have anti-cancer, anti-viral, and cholesterol-lowering properties? It's true and I've included a list of helpful resources to back up this claim at the end of this post in case you want to fact-check me. ;-)

I like mushrooms, but I don't eat them regularly and have been thinking of ways to "sneak" them into dishes since James isn't a fan of eating fungi. But sometimes, I just want to eat them, especially for the umami (savory) flavor I don't get to eat all that often since I don't eat meat. Lately, I've been experimenting with incorporating more varieties of mushrooms into dishes like omelettes and loving the tasty results.

Last week, I took things further and whipped up a batch of Cream of Mushroom Soup (sans dairy, flour, butter), but I didn't document every step. I made the soup again this week and changed up some of the ingredients and got an even better result. I've been enjoying leftovers all week and want to share what I did so you can try to replicate this delicious recipe, too!

2 onions, sliced
2 tb olive or canola oil
2 packages mushrooms, sliced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1-2 potatoes, scrubbed and chopped (peel if not organic)
2 ribs celery, chopped (organic is important for celery)
1 qt veggie or mushroom broth
1/2 c cashew cream (optional)
1-2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp ground marjoram
1/2 tsp thyme
1/3 c dry white wine (or mirin)
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste

Caramelize 2 sliced yellow onions in 2 tb oil. Because you want to brown them to really bring out the umami flavor, cast iron works great. If you're not sure what I mean by caramelize, salt the onions and saute over med-high heat for about 10 minutes. No, don't burn them, but a little crispy is good. Degalze the pan with a healthy splash of mirin or dry white wine. Add freshly ground black pepper, some red pepper flakes, celery, garlicmarjoram, and thyme, and 1-2 packages of mushrooms, sliced. The ratio of onions:mushrooms is what's important here. 1 large onion to 1 package of mushrooms works well. Brown the mushrooms, stirring every minute or so. Once they have a nice brown (about 10 minutes), deglaze the pan with the remaining wine and add the potatoes, bay leaves, and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook partially covered for about 20 minutes. Add the cashew cream, remove from heat, and blend with an immersion blender until you achieve your desired consistency. Serve with freshly ground black pepper and some croutons. Enjoy!