Thursday, September 25, 2008

Barefoot Thursdays: Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom and Brown Rice Soup

It was seven years ago, the last time I made Cream of Mushroom soup. One of the tacit compromises I made when I said I do to the Quiet Man, was to put aside my love of mushroom soup. He didn't ask me too. He didn't have to. He just had to use the body language that I've become so adept at reading. The slightly slumped shoulder, the single inverted eyebrow, the tense wrists, the rummaging through the fridge, the occasional whole body quiver. Out of consideration, I turned to cream of broccoli, cream of potato, asparagus, corn, chicken-anything but the dreaded fungi.

Seven years ago, he was at a Navajo reservation doing an internship for his Master's Degree. The night he left, I skipped to the super market and bought a giant pack of mushrooms for my brew. I ate a whole pot full of the marvelous stuff, drinking in the earthy pleasure all week long. Seven years worth of pleasure in one week.
How fitting that this weekend, coinciding with my Barefoot Thursdays assignment for Garten's Cream of Mushroom Soup, The Quiet Man was in Denver doing work for his Doctorate. Back home, I was slicing and dicing those precious shrooms, marveling at the funny way that life works. Not quite alone but still nostalgic, I savored my luscious bowls of soup.
And Quiet Man, I missed you. But if you ever want to do some post-doctorate work, I know what I'll be having for dinner.
Notes: Of course, I couldn't really add 10 tablespoons of butter and oil, 1 cup of cream and 1 cup of half and half, as Ina suggests. Shocking state of affairs! Instead, I trimmed and slashed the fat, adding in some nutty brown rice to make it seem luxurious yet earthy and satisfying. To become a Barefoot Blogger, click here.
Money Saving Tips: Use whatever combination of mushrooms you can find on sale. I used sliced baby portabellos ($2.69 for 8 ounces at Albertsons) and just a handful of shitake. Make a giant batch of brown rice and freeze it in 2 cup portions, so it's ready to use in any recipe. You can double or triple the homemade stock recipe to use in later recipes. It's much cheaper and better than buying the canned variety.
Lightened Up Cream of Mushroom Soup with Brown Rice
Estimated Cost: $6.00 for 5 servings
Notes: You can use Minute Brown rice, or even the new steam-in-the-bags frozen brown rice if necessary.
8 ounces baby portabello mushrooms
4 ounces shitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 carrots, coarsely chopped
1 potato, coarsely chopped
2 large onions, 1 coarsely chopped for stock
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 and 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 and 1/2 cups fully cooked brown rice
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/3 cup milk
sliced green onions, for serving
Remove stems from mushrooms to use for the stock. In a large pot, saute over medium heat the mushroom stems, carrots, potato, 1 coarsely chopped onion, and garlic. Saute for ten minutes, stirring often. Add 4 cups water and thyme. Add salt and pepper to taste. (I used about 1/2 teaspoon of each.) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. This will be the stock for the soup. You need 4 cups so add water if you don't have enough.
Strain and set aside. (This can be done ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated.) In a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Mince remaining onion and slice mushrooms and add to pot. Cook for about five minutes, or until softened. Add flour and cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add broth and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. Stir in brown rice and warm through. Add cream and milk and warm through without boiling; season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with sliced green onions and serve.
Coming Tomorrow:
Johnny Appleseed's Birthday
Crumbly Apple Oatmeal Bars

58 comments:

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Not only the soup looks delicious, but so is your story! Enjoy your soup while you can :)!

Debinhawaii said...

You are so good--I went full fat all the way baby! ;-) Glad you enjoyed the soup--great timing! ;-)

Tami said...

The soup looks very delicious. I bet that this would go over big at our dinner table.

gigi said...

I've grown into mushrooms. It's taken years but I now love them. Maybe there is hope for Quiet Man too. I love the way you cut the fat out of the original recipe! It does a body good.

The Blonde Duck said...

I love the story! Whenever Ben's gone, I'll know I'll be having a scandelious amount of meat or waffles! It looks wonderful.

Mary Ann said...

Great job on this one. It still looks super creamy, although I must say I agree with quiet man on this one. The brown rice is a great addition and it actually looks tantalizing (I am not a mushroom fan)

Laura said...

Beautiful job, as usual Prudy! How did you get yours to look so nice and creamy yet keep it low fat? I tried to lighten mine up a bit and though it tasted great, it didn't look so hot.

My hubby was out of town for this too, but he probably would have enjoyed it. Just gonna have to make some more I guess. I'm waiting 'til the weather cools off a bit before I make anymore soups though. They just taste so much better when it's cold outside, don't they?

Peter M said...

Ahhh, I'm going to be driven nuts by Ina's mushroom soup today...send another bowl to me...Oink!

VeggieGirl said...

Loved reading the story!! Hooray for comforting meals.

Kirsten said...

I like the addition of the rice. Looks good!

jennifer rogers said...

oh my gosh! I LOVE homemade cream of mushroom soup but I never found a recipe that sounds as good as this one....I'm going to Kroger today and get the stuff to make it! It looks delicious...

Darius T. Williams said...

Looks really good - all I'd need is just a bit of crusty bread!

-DTW
www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com

Suzie said...

I love your story about the Quiet Man. Hope that the soup was extra special for you given its rarity.

Suzie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maria said...

I am so glad you lightened up this soup! It looks really tasty! I love mushrooms!
And you made pretzel sandwiches? I can't wait to see these. You are so creative!!

Candy said...

Wow! It looks super delicious to me. I might have to add the butter though!

Natashya said...

Secret mushroom soup eater - I love it!
The brown rice was a great idea to make this soup more nutritious and satisfying.

Cathy said...

I am so glad to have your lightened up version, Prudy. I DID go full fat, and then felt like I had to go to confession afterwards. I think that brown rice is a wonderful addition. So glad that the stars aligned, with Quiet Man being out of town when the fungi invaded.

Tanji said...

You crack me up Miss Prudy! Roger gave me the same response to Falafel. Who doesn't like Falafel?? Your soup looks yummy! I love mushrooms-my favorites are Chantarelle. They are NOT $2.89 at Albertson's. They run about $19a lb at Pike Place Market in Seattle. So, it's been a few years. :) See you soon!! I'll email you tomorrow-ish.

Dawn said...

I can't believe how cheaply these meals can be made? I really need to hanker down and pay more attention when I'm grocery shopping instead of just grabbing the name brand or smaller sizes. I need to focus.
Everytime I come to your blog the first thing I do is see the price of the meal you've created. I think you are so very smart.
I didn't get to comment on the pumpkin veggie chili below. Veggie chili is one of my fav comfort foods in the winter. I make a ton of it, but I've never added pumpkin puree. I must try that. Thanks for sharing sweetie!

Anne said...

Your lightened up version looks great. We've had food poisoning from mushrooms so I knew this soup just wouldn't be eaten- but your recipe looks perfect!

Marjie said...

You're saying that, like me, your Quiet Man doesn't "do" fungus? Yeah! I'm not the only one out there. This is a pretty soup, but I'll stick with other cream soups. I do like your brown rice substitution!

Catherine said...

This looks so delicious. For some reason, I have never had cream of mushroom soup. I can't wait to try your lightened up version.

Anna M. said...

What a fun story...glad you still get to enjoy the culinary delight that is mushroom soup every now and then! =) I love mushroom soup too, so thanks for the recipe. I made your corn and black bean salada AGAIN for dinner last night (I think I'm addicted) and put in chicken that I grilled with a basil & citrus rub...it was very good!!! =)

Katherine Aucoin said...

Invite me over for your next Cream of Mushroom Soup Fest. Your soup is amazing and you are very clever at slashing the fat and keeping/adding taste. Quite Man is very lucky your so thoughtful.

Glad you liked the broccoli, try it with asparagus too. Prudy, you can post it any way you like. :-)

Megan said...

Great story to go with some great soup. Next time, I'll try your lightened up version!!! :)

Summer said...

Cute post! Ooh, that looks good. Brown rice would be the prefect addition, maybe I'll add some to my leftovers.

Aggie said...

I love your cute little mushrooms when husband is away story!

I was appalled by the amount of butter in this recipe, so I had to nix it completely. I love that you added brown rice to it...it looks delicious!

Deborah said...

I loved your story!! I know that if for some reason my hubby is out of town, I will be making Indian food!

Flourchild said...

Yum... your soup looks packed full of chunky goodness!

Sharon said...

Kind of embarrassing, but I don't believe I've ever had cream of mushroom soup that's not from a can! This looks like a great fall soup.

I'm so jealous that you live close to Zion. It's an absolutely perfect place to visit.

Amy said...

We LOVE mushrooms around here, even the kids! Can't wait to try this one!!

Jenny said...

Mmmm, your soup looks like the ultimate comfort food right now. Same situation in my house. My family are fungi haters. I however am a huge fan! Love the pretty soup bowl too!

1freshstart said...

Haha. I loved your story about The Quiet Man being gone. Glad he's back... I'm with him on the shroom front. Thanks, but no thanks.

Audrey said...

I was all set with the pumpkin chili, but now I don't know which of your lovely recipes to try first! And apple oatmeal bars soon, too!That's a great idea to freeze some of the brown rice. I do that with wild rice (for soup and casseroles) when I feel rich enough to buy some. It freezes perfectly and you only have to invest the time once to cook it.

Bridgett said...

This would be a hit at our dinner table! I am loving all these soup recipes popping up now that the weather is changing a bit.

Cynthia's Blog said...

Prudy, you are just too good!!!

Esi said...

Nice modifications!! I went full fat and had to take more walks and eat less during the day to make up for it!

Nickki said...

The soup looks so delicious! I also indulge myself on the foods I love when I'm alone, I too am familiar with that tense body language you speak of.

By the way, I have an award for you over on the Clayton's blog. When I was asked to choose a blog to give the award too it wasn't hard to decide! You never fail to inspire me :)

Beth said...

Don't you just love it when they are away!!!

Peggy said...

Your soup is beautiful. I wish I had a bowl of it right now. I'm freezing in this office I'm in!! Soup always warms me up. Pumpkin chili sounds interesting, too.

Veronica said...

I trimmed the fat too...because I knew you would and I would feel guilty! Nice pictures!

Christine said...

I so enjoy reading your posts! Your soup looks delicious and I love the way you cut the fat out!

Coby said...

Prudy you're such an entertaining 'read':) I love your tip for having brown rice on hand - I've done this with pulses but never thought of brown rice - inspired thank you:)

Hmm, what a quandry - I really *really* want to try this soup, but fear I'd make it full FULL fat as it sounds so rich and decadent...might be better for me if didn't like mushroom soup methinks;)

Lisa said...

Sounds delicious and I'm glad you lightened it up.

Meryl said...

Love that you lightened it up. I need to just start doing that--I think it would make me happier in the long run.

Mandy said...

I love the stories you share with each post! Your soup looks yummy!!

Great Job!!

Shandy said...

You are better then any cookbook I could ever own! I love your idea of brown rice in the soup. So much more to the creamy mushroom soup and the earthy notes of flavor are music to the taste buds. Yum! 7 years to go without a food you enjoy? Now if that isn't true love, I don't know what is! I did splurge and make the soup as called for. I want yours =).
Great added note about making extra stock and freezing the rice in 2 cup increments.

Tanya said...

Why have I never read your blog before? It's fabulous! Anyway, your soup looks delicious and I love the story that went along with it.

mikky said...

oh dear, can't wait to try your soup... a meal in itself... :)

Marie said...

Your soup looks fabulous! I can just imagine you chopping up your mushrooms and thinking of the guiet man and missing him. I Love mushrooms. I bet I'd love this soup. Can't wait to see your cake tommorrow!

Bellini Valli said...

I enjoyed the process of making this soup which started with making a stock out of the mushrooms stems. It turned my daughter and myself from haters to lovers of fungi:D

CECIL said...

With all these mushroom soup popping out in so many blogs, I so want a bowl of it right now! Especially now that you lighten it up, I guess I can have more than 1 bowl! :)

Kimi said...

Love your take on the soup. The brown rice is always a winner, and lighter!

Michelle Ioapo A'etonu said...

i love the pictures of your soup! it made me remember that I didn't use any carrots that day. I didn't have any on-hand! oh well, it was still very good!

Dee said...

Haha, I too wonder about mushroom haters. I personally love the stuff, and this looks like a wonderful one-dish meal. If only I could figure out a vegetable that would work in this - any advice?

Prudy said...

Dee:
My kids love cream of potato-boring I know, but I have to admit it is really quite good. Also broccoli, asparagus, corn, or artichoke are nice. I actually made half of this soup into cream of corn and brown rice for my son, and it was good-but admittedly not as good as the mushroom version.

hot garlic said...

I love what you did with this! I would rather have dessert than eat my dessert for dinner {unless I am having cookies for dinner, then it's okay}, so I am all in favor of trimming it down to spare for something tempting later.