Meatless Monday #1: Mushroom Soup

February 20, 2012

You may have heard of Meatless Mondays, a way to choose a healthier lifestyle while at the same time easing your carbon footprint. The movement began in 2003 with the help of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. The idea was to offer consumers suggested ways to get away from consuming too much meat which can lead to health issues like high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. The experts tell us that if we eliminate eating meat just one day during the week we will be doing a lot to improve overall health and lifestyle.

In my kitchen this is a no-brainer since we eat much more fish than we do meat in the first place, as well as lots of salads and a variety of vegetables.

So to help you along the way to Meatless Mondays, I am offering a variety of soups for you to try and the first one is this delicious and easy to make velvety cream of mushroom soup. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to cream of mushroom soup in a can which should, in my opinion, be banned from all grocery stores. Once you make real mushroom soup, there is no going back. I call this Guy’s mushroom soup because I taught my husband how to make it and if he can do it so can you!

Guy’s Mushroom Soup

Makes 2 ½ quarts

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large leeks, cleaned and cut into rings
2 pounds mixed mushrooms including oyster, shitake and button
4 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves plus a few sprigs for garnish
6 cups hot chicken broth
1 cup light cream
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup minced fresh parsley
Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for sprinkling

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot; stir in the leeks and mushrooms and cook covered over medium heat until the mushrooms are soft. Add the thyme and cook a couple of minutes longer.

Add the chicken broth and cook covered for 5 minutes.

Puree the soup, add the cream, salt, pepper and parsley and heat slowly.

Serve hot and top with grated cheese and a sprig of thyme.Variation; reserve some of the mushrooms once cooked and keep for garnish.

Add toasted bread to bottom of soup bowl before ladling on the soup.

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