Weekend Cooking: Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of mushroom soup features quite a bit in my Singapore childhood. Yes despite the heat and humidity of equatorial climes, we love drinking our soup. Usually Chinese-style clear soups like minced pork meatballs and tofu, fish soup, noodle soups. But we had our regular cream of mushroom soup meals for lunches, along with a sandwich or sometimes a full meal like pork chop or chicken.


(via MoMA)

For far too long though, cream of mushroom soup meant opening the pantry door, extracting one of the many cans with the signature red and white label and that word “Campbell” emblazoned on it. Creamy soups meant Campbell. Cream of mushroom. Cream of chicken. Cream of celery. Cream of tomato.

Opening the can, slopping out its jelly-like innards, pouring in some liquid, heating it all up on the stove. It was a kind of ritual of sorts. It was our little version of a “western” meal. Something so different from our usual meals of rice, veg, meat and simple clear soups.

Some years ago, my parents got an immersion blender. Was it a gift with purchase or something? Maybe. But whatever the reason it enter our kitchen, it changed the way we saw soups!

Cream of mushroom soup is fairly easy to make. And by making your own you can easily adjust salt levels, change it up with different types of mushrooms or even stock. And try it with a variety of spices and herbs.

I used three small shallots and three garlic cloves. But that’s because I like my garlic. One clove will do.

I like to sweat the shallots down quite a bit. In some olive oil and some butter.   Add the chopped garlic ant then the sliced mushrooms. 

Two pounds is quite a lot of mushrooms!

Cook the mushrooms until liquid emerges from them. I like to remove a ladle’s worth of the sliced mushrooms at this point so that they don’t all get pulverized by the immersion blender. Set it aside for later.

Add broth. I used chicken stock. I also splash in some soy sauce and a bit of Worcestershire sauce, some fresh ground black pepper and a dash of all-spice. But that’s just me. You can stick to salt and pepper. Or add a teaspoon of two of lemon juice.

Here’s  also where I add in some chopped potatoes. Many recipes use heavy cream but that’s not something I usually keep in stock in my kitchen. So I use a bit of potatoes to thicken the soup. And instead of heavy cream, milk. But the milk comes later.

After the mushrooms and potatoes are soft, turn off the heat then whip out your immersion blender, keeping a cloth handy for splashes (hot liquid warning!) and blitz it into a soup. Or if you don’t have an immersion version, pour into blender and do what you will. Don’t forget that it’s hot!

Then after that I add in the milk, adjust the seasoning, warm it through again. And put those non-blitzed mushroom slices back into the soup.

Serve with a splash of olive oil, some chives perhaps, a nice crunchy piece of buttered toast. Or pork chops, potato salad, oven-roasted asparagus and carrots, and on top of the soup some bacon bits from the oven, as we did on Friday night. Makes for a great meal on its own or as a starter.




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  1. I grew up on casseroles and so was used to a lot of cream of chicken and cream of mushroom in our dinners. I’ve been really trying to get away from those cans the past few years and this looks absolutely delicious (though i’m sitting here sweating in my kitchen so I’m not sure how refreshing it sounds right now!). I love the idea of using potatoes as a thickener rather than heavy cream! I usually have potatoes but rarely cream unless I specifically buy it for something.


  2. Oh yes the Chinese like their soup. It really surprised me when I did a few brief sessions of home ec at school how you made soup! The pictures of your veg look so nice and fresh.


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