Recipe: Vegan Cream of Mushroom Soup

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What’s your favourite comfort food? Not the ‘it rained on me when I was walking home’ food, or the ‘planned outing was cancelled’ food, but the real ‘my entire life sucks, everyone hates me and I think I had something to do with it’ food. When the chips are down and all hope is gone I turn to cream of mushroom soup, but not just any mushroom soup, specifically Campbell’s Condensed Mushroom soup eaten undiluted and served over white rice with a lot of black pepper. When Superman’s otherwise engaged, the Bat Signal’s bulb has gone out and The Avenger’s satnav is leading them astray, this will save your life. Trust me on this.

Having said that, I’m eating less and less dairy nowadays, so I wanted to see if I could replicate the creamy soul-saving effects without using real cream. Soy yoghurts are out of the equation, the only plain one I’ve found has vanilla in it, which would just be wrong. The vegan milk replacements wouldn’t be creamy enough. Eventually I settled on coconut milk. I had used it in the lentil, spinach and coconut soup and had been impressed by the way it didn’t take over the dish, but made it much richer and creamier. It does exactly the same here, the creamy richness is there, but you have to really look for the coconut flavour.

The other thing that helps this recipe work is the Porcini stock cubes. Not all supermarkets keep them (I found mine in Waitrose) but if you spot them they are well worth buying. They pack a huge mushroom flavour. If you can’t find them, don’t worry, just use a good veg stock and 2 tablespoons of the mushroom ketchup.

Cream of mushroom soup photo DSCN0957_zps9d040773.jpg

Ingredients
1 leek, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
400g mushrooms, roughly chopped
500ml mushroom stock
1 tbsp mushroom ketchup
150 ml coconut milk
1 tbsp coconut milk for garnish

Sweat the leek in a little oil in a large saucepan.
When the leek is softened add the garlic and stir for about a minute.
Add the mushrooms, stock, mushroom ketchup and coconut milk.
Bring to the simmer and leave for 30 minutes.
When cooked, remove from the heat and blend until smooth.
Season with salt and pepper.
Serve hot with a swirl of coconut milk for garnish.

Serves 2 (or 1 if you really need it!)

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9 responses »

  1. I agree, mushroom soup for the soul! The perfect thing when you need a comforting upper. We usually use Campbell’s when camping; not to the prescribed ratio though, more like 2:1 in favour of tinned gloup over water! Plus a crusty roll or two to mop. My homemade is somewhat more plebeian than yours and thickened with chunks of stale wholemeal bread, but not so different otherwise. I can definitely see where coconut milk would work here though!

  2. In a situation like that I reckon I’d be too bummed out to properly cook, but as long as I had a big bag of frozen peas and the ability to heat some up I’d be okay. Frozen peas are my emergency comfort food, just cook up a pan and then add any random flavourings in the cupboard: peanut butter, marmite, mustard, yoghurt… they’ll go with most things and the fact they have some vitamins, protein, fibre etc. would be reassuring at an otherwise dark time! Not that I don’t love mushrooms though! If somone were to offer me that soup it would definitely cheer me up. šŸ™‚

  3. My ultimate comfort food is mashed potato, with loads of black pepper. If I’m feeling sophisticated, it has caramalised onions, garlic and mushrooms in it, with veggie parmesan grated on top. Oddly enough, I’ve never made mushroom soup, even though I like mushrooms, partly because I don’t much like creamy soups or sauces. I want to try this one, though, as I’m intrigued by the coconut milk.

    • Mashed potato works as well. The coconut milk adds a really rich creaminess without that much coconut flavour behind it. I’m really impressed with it, it’s a very good alternative to other cream substitutes.

      • Ooh, I’ll give that a go! I like fiddling around with different flavourings for mash – horseradish, garlic and grainy mustard are all good.

  4. I made a mushroom soup last night rather similar in outline to this but no coconut milk. Mine had reconstituted dried porcini, , veg. stock, leeks, and parsnips, some thyme and a bay leaf. You bring all this to a boil, let it simmer for a bit, then chuck in the sliced fresh mushrooms that have been sauteed in some olive oil with a bit of garlic. Simmer a little longer, then puree the whole thing with a stick blender. It turns out fairly thick and creamy and very good. You can hold back some of the sliced mushrooms and toss them in after the pureeing bit. But I must confess – there are several tinned soups I will never eat and Campbell’s cream of mushroom tops the list.

    • Anth has gone swanning off to the theatre today to see David Tennant in Richard II …

      That soup sounds lovely, Yvonne. I’ve used dried porcini in a mushroom stew and it really added to the texture, especially saving the soaking water for the stock.

      The only tinned soup I’ll eat is Heinz tomato – and only when I’m ill.

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