Truly Magical Mushroom Soup
I grew up eating mushroom soup from a can. It was easy to prepare during those frigid Ohio winters, and it was also a staple ingredient in nearly every midwestern casserole. Comfort food at it’s finest. Or so I thought.
Today, I cringe when I see the ingredients on that famously red & white label. Yes, soup is good food IF it’s made with good ingredients. Without dissecting the entire toxic lineup, the Genetically Modified Corn, Cottonseed, Canola and/or Soybean Oil are the first to scream at me, quickly followed by the Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
Dang – why does convenience have to come at such a high price!?! I truly love creamy mushroom soup, but inflammation, allergies, gastrointestinal disease and neurological disorders aren’t my cup of tea.
I recently came across a great deal on delicious Chanterelle Mushrooms at Costco. Everyone knows mushrooms can rock an omelet, stir fry, sandwich or spaghetti sauce. But I felt I had to come up with something a little more special for these magical chanterelles. I wasn’t really sure what I was doing, but I threw together a little of this and a little of that. Low and behold, my family loved the rich, creamy soup I concocted!
Before divulging my accidental recipe, I first need to apologize to any Paleos, Vegans or others who can’t do dairy. But please read on; then go rock some ‘shrooms any way you can. Second, I need to give a quick cheer for mushrooms: the magical, unsung heroes of our sickly planet! Here’s why…..
Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They are classified into the kingdom of Fungi. Mushroom seeds are called Spores, and the living body is a vast mycelium web made out of tiny filaments called Hyphae. The mycelium is usually hidden in soil, wood, or another food source.
There are tens of thousands of types of mushrooms that are classified into 4 categories, based on the way the mushroom feeds itself. Only a small fraction of the mushrooms that have been discovered so far are edible.
In some ways, mushrooms are more closely related to animals than plants because they take in oxygen for digestion and metabolism, and release carbon dioxide as a waste product.
Mushrooms have no chlorophyll, so they don’t need sunshine to thrive. But when exposed to sunlight, certain mushrooms become an excellent source of Vitamin D; a crucial nutrient that most Americans are severely lacking. Many mushrooms are also a good source of Potassium, Selenium, B-Vitamins, Enzymes, Antioxidants, Amino Acids, and Protein.
Medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi, Shiitake and Maitake, are highly prized in China and Japan. They’ve been used successfully for over 3,000 years to boost immunity and fight diseases such as cancer.
Mushrooms can be used both for their probiotic properties, and their antibiotic properties. Penicillin, anyone?
In addition to their use as Food and Medicine, mushrooms are extremely important for Bioremediation. They can absorb and digest toxic waste, including oil spills, pesticide and fertilizer runoff.
One of my local heroes, mycologist Tradd Cotter, can better explain the vital role that mushrooms play in our environment during in this TedX talk:
I can’t say for certain that mushrooms will save the planet; but why risk it? That’s why I made this indulgent soup, and I encourage you to learn more about mushrooms. As with all my recipes, use whatever you like; whatever you’ve got. Any type of mushrooms will work.
- 8 oz. Chanterelle Mushrooms
- 8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms
- 4 oz. Shiitake Mushrooms
- 3 TBSP grass-fed Butter
- 3 cups Broth/Stock (preferably homemade from chicken, beef, or whatever you prefer)
- ¼ tsp. Onion Powder
- 2 Bay Leaves
- 3 sprigs of Rosemary
- 3 cups grass-fed heavy Cream
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- 2 tsp. Cornstarch, Flour, Arrowroot Powder or other thickening agent, dissolved in 2 TBSP water
Coarsely chop Mushrooms. (If you use a Vitamix or similar appliance, be careful not to end up with mushroom paste: it can happen quickly!) Sautee Mushrooms and Butter on medium heat for 10 minutes.
Add the Broth, Onion Powder, Bay Leaves and Rosemary. Cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the Cream, Salt & Pepper. Reduce heat and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Remove the bay leaves and rosemary, then add the Cornstarch and stir for another 5 minutes.
That’s it! Enjoy this indulgent soup before, during, or after doing deep mushroom research. You may very well concede that mushrooms are truly magical!