The genesis of this soup was a trip to Costco, our first in a long time, resulting in wide eyes and a cart full of mega packages of delicious things to be used up...somehow. Even with three adults on the eating roster, that pound and a half container of lovely Italian brown mushrooms was going to last awhile.
Then suddenly it was a rainy Sunday -- soup weather! I came up with this recipe after cobbling together ideas from several cookbooks. I am not a big fan of over thickened floury "cream" soups or those testing the arterial limits with scads of butter and cream. So for shortening I used a combination of non-hydrogenated margarine and grapeseed oil. Where traditional recipes called for thickening with cream or with a true butter based béchamel, I used a microwaved white sauce with a base of skim milk. The huge volume of flavorful mushrooms is what made this all work.
1 lb fresh Italian brown or other mushrooms, washed, stems removed, chopped medium fine
1/2 cup white or yellow onion, chopped fine
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped fine
4 Tbs tbs non-hydrogenated unsalted margarine (or substitute butter)
3 Tbs mild cooking oil such as grapeseed, olive oil not recommended
1 C skim milk
2 tbs white flour
4 cups chicken stock, unsalted or low salt
1 C cooked brown rice
salt and pepper
Heat 3 Tbs of margarine and 3 Tbs of oil in large heavy saucepan or stock pot
Add garlic, onions and mushrooms
Sauté for 15 minutes adjusting heat as needed to keep contents from browning
Sprinkle with 1 Tb flour, stir in, then add 4 cups of stock
Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes
Make 1 cup of thin white sauce in microwave as follows:
melt 1 Tb margarine in microwave safe bowl
Stir in 1 Tb flour and mix to a paste
Heat 30-60 seconds in microwave until the mixture looks grainy - do not let this brown!
Add 1 C skim milk and whisk until incorporated
Heat in microwave for 1-2 minutes, stopping to stir occasionally, the sauce should come to a boil as this helps cook and remove the "floury" taste
NOTE: you could skip this step and instead use cream or half and half
Add white sauce to soup pot, stir, and heat through
Stir in the cup of brown rice (optional, but adds nice body) and heat to just below simmer
Taste and add salt and pepper as needed
Serve and get ready to receive compliments!