When I first began making cookbooks, I was a purist. No canned cream-of-xxx soups for me, whether I was working on cookbooks or making dinner. I resolutely turned any reference to canned creamed soups into a multi-step process, which wasn’t too bad if I took a magazine along to the stove or the microwave. I would do Steps 1-4 (below); then I’d whip out the magazine while I stirred. It made the time fly.
But when I became a mom, I began to compromise on a few things. It was a little harder to hold a wiggly child than it was to read a magazine while I stirred up a creamy soup.
Then I heard from other people who were juggling things that didn’t always allow them to stand and read while stirring. So I switched and began to permit canned soups in recipes.
If you like to know exactly what you are eating, and if you have the time, I applaud your making cream soups and bases from scratch. The recipe for doing this on the stove-top or in the microwave is below.
If you’re tight time-wise, or aren’t sure you want to make the extra effort to create a creamy soup or base, you’ll find canned cream soups in the ingredient lists of many recipes in the Fix-It and Forget-It cookbooks. Because my first intent is to make sure you can make a meal at home and serve it to your friends and family, no matter how full or chaotic your life is.
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup–on the stove
Makes about 1 ¼ cups (10 oz.)
1. In a small saucepan, melt butter.
2. Sauté mushrooms and onion in butter until tender. Stir frequently.
3. Add flour and stir until smooth. Cook over low heat for a minute or so to cook off the raw flour taste.
4. Continuing over low heat, gradually add milk, stirring the whole time.
5. Stir frequently to keep soup from sticking. When soup begins to bubble, stir continuously until it thickens to a creamy consistency.
To make cream of celery soup, substitute ¼ cup finely chopped celery for the ¼ cup chopped mushrooms.
Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup–in the microwave
Use the ingredients listed above.
Note: If your microwave is fairly new and powerful, you will probably have a creamy soup by the end of Step 8 or 10 below. If you’re working with an older, less powerful, microwave, you will likely need to go through Step 12, and maybe Step 13.
1. In a 1- or 2-qt. microwave-safe container, melt 3 Tbsp. butter on High for 30 seconds.
2. Stir chopped mushrooms and onions into melted butter.
3. Microwave on High for 1 minute, or just enough to make the vegetables tender.
4. Stir in flour until well blended.
5. Microwave on High for 1 minute, just enough to overcome the raw flour taste.
6. Gradually stir in milk until as well blended as possible.
7. Microwave on Power 5 for 45 seconds.
8. Stir until well blended.
9. Microwave on Power 5 for another 45 seconds. The mixture should be starting to bubble and thicken.
10. Stir again until well blended.
11. If the mixture isn’t fully bubbling and thickened, microwave on High for 20 seconds.
12. Stir. If the mixture still isn’t fully bubbling and thickened, microwave on High for 20 more seconds.
13. Repeat Step 12 if needed.