We have been living in our current house for almost three years. Our previous house had an immense backyard with no shade trees at all, perfect for a garden. I loved that yard, I loved that garden. Our current yard is plenty big, but it is also plenty shaded. “But not too shaded,” I reassured myself and my wife when we chose this place. “I can’t grow as big a garden, but I can still grow a pretty good sized one.”
I was wrong.
There’s just too much shade in my backyard for the tomatoes, peppers, squash, zucchini, green beans, black eyed peas, and so many other veggies that I dream of. It has been a very frustrating realization, one I’m still trying to adjust to. What tomatoes I am able to grow, the squirrels quickly take. “It’s impossible!” I remember telling my wife. “The only thing we can grow here is mushrooms!”
So, she signed me up for a class on growing mushrooms. And it turns out we can grow mushrooms here.
But if you’re going to grow mushrooms, you also have to eat mushrooms. So, what do I do with the mushrooms we’ve grown? One of my favorite things to do with them so far this winter is cream of mushroom soup. Before this, the only thing I ever did with cream of mushroom soup was plop it out of a can into a casserole (like this one; yum!). This recipe is much better than anything out of a can. So, here it is.
1 lb fresh mushrooms (I recommend shiitake or oyster)
1 small yellow onion, diced
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
1 quart chicken stock (recipe here)
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
Salt and pepper to taste
Dice your mushrooms into bite sized pieces. My wife and I both prefer the mushrooms pieces to be on the small size for this recipe, but find what works best for you. In a 2 quart sauce pan, melt butter over medium high heat, then sauté mushroom pieces in the butter until all pieces are cooked through. (Note: mushrooms will shrink significantly while they cook.) Remove mushrooms from pan and set aside.
Add olive oil to sauce pan and heat till oil shimmers. When oil is hot enough, sauté diced onion until onion pieces start to become transparent. Add minced garlic and continue to sauté until garlic becomes fragrant, about another minute. Add chicken stock and stir. (Optional: if you want your soup to be more creamy/less chunky, you can use an immersion blender to blend up your onion pieces.) Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. Add mushrooms back into soup mixture and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cream and allow to heat through. Serve hot.
Isn’t that a lot of garlic?
Well, I guess that depends on how much you like garlic. If you think it’s a lot, use less.
Can I use other kinds of mushrooms?
Yes. Shiitake and blue oyster mushrooms are what I’m growing, so they’re the kind I’ve been using. If you have a kind of mushroom you like better, or that is simply easier for you to find, go for it. If you are a forager and want to go out and find your own wild mushrooms, be my guest… as long as you know what you’re looking for. Remember, all mushrooms are edible, just some kinds are only edible once.
Is this healthy?
Well… it’s healthier than what you’ll get out of the can. And it’s healthier than some stuff I cook and eat. If you want to make it healthier, replace the butter with olive oil and reduce the cream to ½ cup.