One of the biggest challenges in quick cooking is packing in the flavor with easy ingredients instead of taking the time to let the dish simmer. Executive chefs use hearty soup bases that have been simmered and reduced for hours, intensifying the flavors in every spoonful.
Home cooks could do the same, but who has the time? Besides, we want only a couple of bowls of soup, not a cauldron to feed hundreds of guests.
I had all but given up on that deep, rich soup base flavor when a chef friend shared a “secret” bouillon base. I don’t usually develop a recipe around one specific ingredient, giving as much flexibility as possible for my readers across the country. But in this case, other similar ingredients just don’t deliver, especially on the mushroom flavor, this quickly. Today’s recipe for Rich Mushroom Soup is not only fast, it’s healthful, too — low in fat, low in carbohydrates, low in cholesterol and high in vitamins A and C.
And it’s not a wimpy serving — each diner gets 2 cups of soup.
Sized for two, this recipe is easily doubled for more. I hope you enjoy.
Rich Mushroom Soup
2 tsp. oil
2 cups sliced button mushrooms
¾ cup chopped red pepper
¾ cup chopped yellow onion
1 quart water
2 tsp. Better than Bouillon Mushroom Base (see note)
1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves (or ⅓ tsp. dried thyme leaves)
1 tbsp. sherry
1 tbsp. cream cheese
Croutons for garnish, optional
In a 2-quart soup pot or saucepan, heat the oil over medium high and saute the mushrooms and vegetables until tender, about 4 minutes. Add the water, base, thyme and sherry, and cover and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook at a steady boil 2 to 3 minutes, then reduce heat to low.
Using an immersion blender, process until soup is smooth (or carefully transfer the soup to a blender in increments). Finish soup by stirring in the cream cheese until completely melted. Serve with croutons, if desired.
Makes two servings, 2 cups each.
Note: Manufactured by Superior Touch, Better than Bouillon is usually found where broths and bouillon cubes are available. If your local store doesn’t carry it, you can order it online.
Each serving has about 120 calories, 7 grams fat (2 grams saturated), 6 milligrams cholesterol, 3 grams protein, 11 grams carbohydrates, 2 grams dietary fiber, 716 milligrams sodium.