Creamless Cream of Mushroom Soup

Creamy soups are pure comfort. Not only are creamy soups lusciously smooth, but they provide pure and simple comfort, especially on a frigid day. Creamy soups can be made without any cream and you won't even notice, as long as the flavors in the soup are full flavored and the soup is pureed to a creamy consistency.

Recently, I made a creamy mushroom soup without any added cream, inspired by 
Dorie Greenspan's Paris Mushroom Soup recipe in her new cookbook, Around My French Table.  Since I still had champagne left from New Year's (we're not champagne drinkers, but always pop a bottle open to celebrate, so there's always extras), I decided to add some to the mushroom soup.  Mushrooms have umami on their own, but I decided to use some soy sauce to give this mushroom soup even more umami.  With the addition of some fresh winter herbs (sage and thyme), I made a rich, deep flavored, absolutely luxuriously tasting creamy mushroom soup, without an ounce of cream.

Visually, creamless mushroom soup might appear a bit drab and boring, but embellished with the right garnishes, this creamy mushroom soup comes to life, contrasting a creamy texture with a little coolness and crunch. According to Dorie Greenspan's new cookbook, the French sometimes dress up their soups (especially creamy soups), by adding toppings such as nuts, croutons or a mini salad.  I love this idea and have been trying different toppings in my soups. These toppings add another dimension to the soup, some crunch, contrasting colors and temperatures, making the soup more interesting and fun to eat.

Satisfyingly rich tasting, and topped with a cool Mushroom Salad, you won't miss the cream, and you'll feel that much better knowing that you have just eaten a bowl of fresh, clean soup.

Creamless Cream of Mushroom Soup

This soup is so rich and flavorful, no one will miss the cream. The Mushroom Salad Garnish adds texture, color and interest, making it fun to eat this soup.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

4 garlic cloves, sliced

 7 cups white button mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped

2-3 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup champagne or white wine

4 cups vegetable broth

Mushroom Salad Garnish:

4 button mushrooms, trimmed, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced

1 scallion, green parts only, thinly sliced

1 lemon

extra virgin olive oil

salt

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium.  Add onions and garlic and sauté until onions are softened, about 3-4 minutes.  Add mushrooms, sage, thyme, soy sauce and paprika, and stir well.  Mushrooms will release liquid and shrink in size.  Continue cooking until liquid from mushrooms is almost completely evaporated.

Add champagne and stir; cook until liquid is almost evaporated.  Add broth and bring soup to a boil; reduce heat to low and cook, covered for 20 minutes.

Puree soup in a blender until smooth.

To make Mushroom Salad Garnish, combine mushrooms, red bell peppers, scallion, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.  Add a dash of salt.

To serve, ladle soup into bowls.  Top with Mushroom Salad Garnish.

Visit Jeanette's Healthy Living for more healthy recipe ideas.

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