Friday, April 22, 2011

Non-toxic Cream of Mushroom Soup

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don't use the cheap-o cream of mushroom soup you can buy at the store because of its MSG content, an ingredient that I don't feel should be in my family's food and the higher quality cream of mushroom soup is just too expensive for my budget.  This has saddened me for a while, since there are a couple recipes I really like that must have cream of mushroom soup in them.  I finally decided to do something about this and came up with my own cream of mushroom soup recipe.  Added bonus:  this version is a lot more flavorful than the canned gunk, without all the nasty additives!
I took a picture of the mushrooms I used rather than the actual soup, because the soup itself is a gray goo and not very appetizing looking.  It is quite tasty though!
The cost of this recipe really depends on what price you can get the mushrooms at (sales, grow your own, wild foraging?), so I'm not as excited about this version as I'm sure I will be about my Cream of Mushroom Soup 2.0 recipe, since that will be fully explored this fall, pending the discovery of some puffball mushrooms.  If I can find some of those, and if this recipe ends up freezing well (I have some of batch 1.0 in the freezer now to fully explore that), I plan on making a mega batch of it using the puffball mushrooms in the hopes of having a year supply of cream of mushroom soup for almost free!  Other wild foraged mushrooms would probably work as well, but puffball mushrooms are the only one that I can identify well enough to even consider wild foraging for some. 

Cream of Mushroom Soup

1 tbsp butter
2 tbsp diced onions
1 lb mushrooms, cleaned and cut up
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 cups milk (I used whole)
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tbsp water

Melt the butter in a large saucepan and saute onions over medium heat.  Put the mushrooms and lemon juice in a food processor and coarsely chop.  Add the mushroom mixture, thyme, and bay leaf to the onions and continue sauteing for another 10-15 minutes, or until the liquid from the mushrooms disappears.  Add the salt, pepper, milk, and chicken stock; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Combine the cornstarch and water in a separate small cup.  Add the cornstarch mixture and simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly.  

This recipe creates such a flavorful soup that it probably wouldn't be bad by itself.  To use it in recipes, 1 cup is all you need (maybe even less?) to get the cream of mushroom flavor you are looking for in the recipe.  Add another 1/4 cup of liquid (milk, cream, or water) to make up the difference in the amount of liquid if that matters in the recipe you are using it in.

I'm hoping you'll be able to find this recipe and lots of other great real food recipes in the Fresh Bites Friday linky for today at


  1. Hi there, I love your blog! I have a question though..lost of recipes require "condensed" cream of mushroom soup. Will this substitute work for that or will the consistency not work? Thanks for all the info you post, I always look forward to reading your blog. :)

  2. Ooohhh,I want to make some too!

    BTW if you do find a good patch of Puffballs locally,keep it a secret as they are getting hard to find around here due to over harvesting and some people's obsession herbicides.


    But mushrooms have glutamates. Milk has glutamates. Chicken has glutamates.

  4. Micah, yes. I tested it in one such recipe before posting it.

    Anonymous, you may be willing to take the chances of feeding MSG to your family. I'm not with mine. There are too many instances in my family when someone's felt very ill or off (and not food poisoning type symptoms) after eating out and we find out later that we accidentally had MSG.

  5. Anonymous, it's not the naturally occuring chemical that is the problem, it is when they extract it from the raw ingredient, and then use a huge concentrated amount, hundreds or thousands of times what you would get eating the source item. Same with soy, it's not bad, only when it's been extracted and injected in large amounts into every single food item you buy.

  6. "While many people believe that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the cause of these symptoms, an association has never been demonstrated under rigorously controlled conditions, even in studies with people who were convinced that they were sensitive to the compound."

  7. I am excited about this recipe because I love some of the comfort foods (like the chicken and rice you posted too) that use cream of mushroom soup, but dont like to use the canned stuff either. I wonder if I could make a big batch of it and freeze "recipe sized" portions?

  8. Yup, you could :-) I tried it on a smaller scale (just a couple frozen "recipe sized" portions), but it worked great!

  9. Everything has the potential to be an allergen. My father in law has tested (clinically, yes) positive to allergy to MSG, but only in it's concentrated form. Condensed soups, certain potato chips (Sorry, Dad, no more Funyons) and other foods like that. Even if it's considered safe in clinical testing, it still has the potential to be an allergen.

    Besides, even if it's totally awesomely cool and safe and never hurt nobody ever, it's still Chris' right to not feed it to her family just because she chose not to. It gave us an awesome recipe for soup, right?

  10. I find that using soya milk rather than normal milk makes it seem creamier (and I have a dairy allergic son - so we've always got soya milk on the go).