I have always loved cream of mushroom soup. So much so that, when my parents had to be away for my seventh birthday and my sister was in charge of supervising the festivities involving my friends from school, I requested it, as well as cake. My sister very, very kindly obliged and served her delicious version to the group of bemused little girls. This is a slightly more grown up version of it.
1 cup roughly chopped assorted mushrooms ( I used a mixture of oyster mushrooms and shiitake)
1 Tbsp finely diced shallot or white onion
1 1/3 cups of whole milk
1 1/2 tsps flour
1 1/2 tsps olive oil
1 tsp Sherry, Cognac or dry Vermouth, whatever you have in the cupboard
2 sprigs of thyme or a generous pinch of dried thyme leaves
Salt to taste and liberal amounts of pepper
Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a sauce pan, one with as flat a bottom as possible. As soon as it shimmers, add the thyme and the onions. Cook, stirring often, until the onions have started to soften and are translucent, about two minutes.
Salt the onions and pepper them liberally/ Stir well to distribute the salt and pepper evenly before adding the mushrooms to the pan. Cook, stirring often, until the mushrooms have softened and started to give off their liquid, about three to four minutes.
Sprinkle the flour over the surface of the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, until any liquid in the pan has thickened. Scrape up any bits that brown and start to stick to the bottom of the pan. This will only take a minute or two.
Drizzle the alcohol over the contents of the pan and stir quickly to combine with the mushroom mixture. Cook, stirring constantly, for about thirty seconds to burn off some of the alcohol before adding the milk.
Stir, scrapping up any bits on the bottom of the pan, until the milk is heated through and the soup has thickened. This can take anywhere from three to five minutes depending on your pan and level of heat.
Taste for seasoning before serving and remove the sprigs of thyme. You could serve this with a bit of chopped parsley on top as a garnish, but I like the unadorned aesthetic of this soup which, because of the amount of mushrooms suspended in the creamy soup, is definitely a meal soup rather than an appetizer one.