Soups, Cream

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Broccoli ­Cheese Soup
To make a vegetarian version of this soup, substitute vegetable broth for the chicken broth.
Course: Soup
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 pounds broccoli florets roughly chopped into 1­inch pieces, stems trimmed, peeled, and cut into 1/4­inch­thick slices
  • 1 medium onion about 1 cup, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium garlic cloves about 2 teaspoons, minced or pressed through garlic press
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • Table salt
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups low­sodium chicken broth see note
  • 2 ounces baby spinach 2 loosely packed cups
  • 3 ounces sharp cheddar cheese 3/4 cup, shredded
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese about 3/4 cup, grated fine , plus extra for serving
  • Ground black pepper
  1. Heat butter in large Dutch oven over medium ­high heat. When foaming subsides, add broccoli, onion, garlic, dry mustard, cayenne, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 6 minutes. Add 1 cup water and baking soda. Bring to simmer, cover, and cook until broccoli is very soft, about 20 minutes, stirring once during cooking.

  2. Add broth and 2 cups water and increase heat to medium­ high. When mixture begins to simmer, stir in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer half of soup to blender, add cheddar and Parmesan, and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer soup to medium bowl and repeat with remaining soup. Return soup to Dutch oven, place over medium heat and bring to simmer. Adjust consistency of soup with up to 1 cup water. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, passing extra Parmesan separately.
Recipe Notes

Overcooking the broccoli in our Broccoli Cheese Soup recipe coaxed all the flavor out of it. Adding a bit of baking soda to the cooking water sped up the cooking process, and pureeing fresh baby spinach along with the other ingredients brightened the Broccoli ­Cheese Soup’s bright green color and enhanced its vegetable flavor. Finally, cheddar and Parmesan gave our soup adequate cheesy flavor without making it heavy.


January 2014


Broccoli Cheese Soup
Course: Soup
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli 700g
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 30ml
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter 45g
  • 1 medium onion about 6 ounces; 170g, sliced
  • 1 medium carrot about 4 ounces; 120g, peeled and finely diced
  • 3 medium cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 2 cups water 475ml, or low-sodium chicken stock
  • 3 cups whole milk 700ml
  • 1 small russet potato about 4 ounces; 120g, peeled and sliced
  • 12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese 340g, see note above, grated
  • 8 ounces deli-style American cheese 240g, see note, diced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder 3g
  • Dash of hot sauce such as Frank's RedHot
  1. Separate broccoli into florets and stems. Cut florets into bite-size pieces and set aside. Roughly chop stems and reserve separately.
  2. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add broccoli florets and cook, without moving, until charred on the bottom, about 1 minute. Stir, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until tender and charred on several surfaces, about 1 minute longer. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet to cool.
  3. Return Dutch oven to medium heat and add butter, onion, carrot, and broccoli stems. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until tender but not browned, about 5 minutes, lowering heat if necessary. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  4. Add water or chicken stock, milk, and potato and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a bare simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until broccoli and potato are completely tender, about 30 minutes.
  5. In a large bowl, toss both cheeses together along with mustard powder. Using an immersion blender blend soup, adding cheese a handful at a time, until completely smooth. Stir in hot sauce and season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir in reserved broccoli florets and pulse with blender a few more times until a few pieces are broken down, but most bite-size pieces remain. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Look for deli-style American cheese at the deli counter of your supermarket. You can use any combination of cheddar, American, and other young, moist cheeses, like Jack or Colby.


Cauliflower Soup
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
1 hr
Course: Soup
  • 1 stick Butter Divided
  • 1/2 whole Onion Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Carrot Finely Diced
  • 1 stalk Celery Finely Diced
  • 1 whole Cauliflower Heads to 2 Whole, roughly Chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Or Dried Parsley chopped
  • 2 quarts Low-sodium Chicken Broth Or Stock
  • 6 Tablespoons All-purpose Flour
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 cup Half-and-half
  • 2 teaspoons To 4 Teaspoons Salt To Taste
  • 1 cup Sour Cream heaping, Room Temperature
  1. In a large soup pot or dutch oven, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes, or until it starts to turn brown.
  2. Add the carrots and celery and cook an additional couple of minutes. Add cauliflower and parsley and stir to combine.
  3. Cover and cook over very low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, pour in chicken stock or broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer.
  4. In a medium saucepan, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Mix the flour with the milk and whisk to combine. Add flour-milk mixture slowly to the butter, whisking constantly.
  5. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup half-and-half. Add mixture to the simmering soup. Allow to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Check seasoning and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
  6. Just before serving, place the sour cream in a serving bowl or soup tureen. Add two to three ladles of hot soup into the tureen and stir to combine with the sour cream. Pour in remaining soup and stir.
  7. Serve immediately.


Cream of Broccoli Soup
When broccoli is in season, we eat it steamed, sauteed, and in casseroles--although that's probably the least favorite. But my girls will almost always eat any kind of soup. Make this with homemade chicken broth and it's a frugal treat for a winter supper.
Course: Soup
  • 1 1/2 pounds broccoli cleaned and trimmed
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small onion diced
  • 1-2 stalks of celery diced
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 Tbs flour
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth homemade is best!
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup milk or half & half or cream
  1. Bring the 2 cups of water to boil and add the broccoli, onion, and celery and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Use a hand blender or a potato masher to mash this all up--or carefully pour into a blender and blend.
  2. Make a white sauce with the butter, flour, and chicken broth: In a 3 quart saucepan, melt the butter and then stir in the flour. Add the broth slowly, whisking to incorporate it. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Turn down and simmer 1 minute, stirring all the time, then remove from heat.
  3. Stir the creamed broccoli mixture into the white sauce and add the salt and pepper. Heat just to boiling, then turn down. Add a bit of the broccoli mix into the milk or cream, and then mix that back into the soup. Stir and serve.


Creamy Fennel Soup with Herb Salad
Prep Time
30 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
50 mins
Course: Soup
  • 5 bulbs fennel with stalks and feathery green tops RESERVE GREENS 2 1/2 to 3 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 yellow onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon finely ground fennel seeds
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 6 diagonal-cut slices baguette
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves and reserved fennel greens
  1. Remove the greens from the fennel stalks, chop them, and reserve. Cut the fennel bulbs and stalks into coarse pieces.
  2. Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until soft, 7 minutes. Add the 1 clove garlic and continue to cook, stirring constantly, for 30 seconds. Increase the heat to high. Add the chopped fennel and the chicken stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the fennel is very tender, 15 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool slightly.
  4. Puree the soup, in batches, in a blender until very smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean soup pot. Add the cream, and season with salt and pepper.
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and lemon juice. Add the reserved fennel greens and parsley, toss to coat, and season with salt and pepper. Set the herb salad aside
  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the ground fennel seeds and stir for 30 seconds. Add the baguette slices in a single layer, and cook, turning once, until golden on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes total. Season with salt, to taste. Remove the baguette slices from the pan and rub each piece lightly on 1 side with the clove of garlic.
  3. Warm the soup over medium heat. Ladle it into bowls, place a baguette slice on top of each, and top each slice with some of the herb salad. Serve.
Recipe Notes

January 2014 after Scott's Disney Visit


Cream of Mushroom Soup
Course: Soup
  • 1 onion chopped
  • ½ pound fresh mushrooms chopped
  • 8 fresh shitake mushrooms chopped
  • 10 Fresh oyster mushrooms chopped
  • ½ C white wine
  • 5 C veg broth
  • 2 C frozen chopped hash brown potatoes
  • 1 T parsley flakes
  • ¼ t nutmeg
  • 2 ½ C soy milk
  1. Place onion and mushrooms in a large pot with the wine. Cook stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Add the broth, potatoes, parsley, and nutmeg. Cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the soy milk and cook for an additional 5 minutes.

  2. Process in batches in processor of blender. Return to the pot and heat through.


BackStreet Café's Mushroom Wild Rice Soup
Course: Soup
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small onion peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 4 ribs celery chopped
  • 3 cups sliced mushrooms
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • ½ cup white wine optional
  • 6 cups chicken stock see note
  • 1 cup cooked wild rice
  • ½ cup heavy whipping cream
  • Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
  1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add onion, carrots, celery and mushrooms. Sauté until onions are translucent and mushrooms have browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and nutmeg. Stir in until garlic releases its fragrance, about 30 seconds.
  2. Add wine if using and deglaze pan for 2 to 3 minutes. Add stock and cook on medium low heat until celery and carrots are tender, 5 to 10 minutes.
  3. Add rice and cream. Continue to cook until soup thickens slightly. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe Notes

Less stock can be added for a thicker soup


Buttermilk Wild Mushroom Soup
Course: Soup
Servings: 10
  • 1 ounce dried Porcini or other dried wild mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup boiling chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup dry Madeira wine
  • 1/2 cup butter NO substitutes
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound fresh button mushrooms about 6 cups, sliced
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms about 1 1/2 cups, sliced, stems removed
  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoons cracked black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  1. Place dried mushrooms in a small bowl. Add the 1/2 cup broth and the wine. Let stand 30 minutes. Drain and discard the excess liquid. Coarsely chop mushrooms; set aside.
  2. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes still tender. Stir in fresh and dried mushrooms; cook 3 to 4 minute more or till most liquid has evaporated. Stir in flour. Add the 8 cups broth and pepper. Cook and stir to boiling. Reduce heat; cook and stir, uncovered, for 30 minutes more.
  3. Remove 4 cups soup mixture; puree in blender or food processor. Return to saucepan. Stir in buttermilk and heat through. Do not boil.


Shantung Twin Mushroom Soup
Two kinds of mushrooms—dried black and button—make up the twins in this delightful soup. Or, simply use all button mushrooms if you don't mind sacrificing some of the flavor.
Course: Soup
  • 1   package dried black Chinese mushrooms 1 ounce
  • 2   teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1   large onion coarsely chopped
  • 2   cloves garlic minced
  • 2   cups sliced fresh button mushrooms
  • 2   cans fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth about 14 ounces each
  • 2   ounces cooked ham cut into thin slivers
  • 1/2   cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1   tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1   tablespoon dry sherry
  • 1   tablespoon cornstarch
  • 6   whole wheat dinner rolls
  1. Place dried mushrooms in small bowl; cover with warm water. Soak 20 minutes to soften. Drain; squeeze out excess water. Discard stems; slice caps.
  2. Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add chopped onion and garlic; cook 1 minute. Add both types of mushrooms; cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add chicken broth; bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; simmer, covered, 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in ham and green onions; heat through. Blend soy sauce and sherry into cornstarch in small bowl until smooth; stir into soup. Cook 2 minutes or until soup is thickened, stirring occasionally. Serve with whole wheat dinner rolls.


Sherried Mushroom Soup
The intense flavor of this soup dictates a small serving size of 1/2 cup.
Course: Soup
  • tablespoons  butter
  • tablespoon  chopped fresh thyme
  • pound  shallots coarsely chopped
  • cans fat-free 14 1/2-ounce, less-sodium chicken broth
  • ounces  dried porcini mushrooms
Remaining ingredients:
  • cups  thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps about 4 ounces mushrooms
  • 3/4  cup  dry sherry
  • tablespoons  chopped fresh chives
  1. To prepare broth, melt butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add thyme and shallots; cook 10 minutes or until shallots are golden brown. Stir in chicken broth and porcini mushrooms; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 1 hour. Strain broth mixture through a sieve into a bowl; discard solids.
  2. Return broth mixture to pan. Stir in shiitake mushrooms and sherry; cook 10 minutes over low heat. Stir in chives. Serve immediately.
Recipe Notes

Make the broth up to four days ahead and refrigerate. Just before serving, add the shiitakes, sherry, and chives, and heat the mixture.


Jewelweed’s Wild Mushroom Soup
Course: Soup
  • 1 pound white button mushrooms [1] or a combination of white button and brown
  • 4 tablespoons butter or vegan alternative, divided
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and left whole [2]
  • 4 cups chicken stock or substitute vegetable stock
  • 4 cups mushroom water
  • 1 beef bullion cube [3] or mushroom
  • 4-8 ounces dried wild mushrooms or ¾ pound fresh wild mushrooms
  • ½ cup sherry
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 1 tablespoon minced tarragon
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. One to four hours before making the soup, place the dried mushrooms into a large bowl and cover with 6 cups of boiling water.  Invert a saucer over the top to force mushrooms to stay under water.
  2. Wash the button mushrooms and slice roughly.  If using fresh wild mushrooms, remove stems and add to the button mushrooms.  Place half the button mushrooms into a food processor blend until fine.
  3. Drain the dried wild mushroom, squeezing out as much water as possible without crushing them.  Spread on paper towels to dry slightly.
  4. In a heavy soup pot, add half the butter and the whole garlic cloves.  Stirring constantly, allow the butter to melt and brown slightly.  Add the sliced button mushrooms and sauté until they have let off their water and begun to brown.  Add the minced mushrooms and continue to cook until they have let out their water and the pan is almost dry again.  Add the chicken stock, mushroom water, and bullion along with three sprigs of thyme and 1/3 cup of the sherry.
  5. Bring mixture to a boil letting it simmer on low for half an hour to forty-five minutes.
  6. Line a colander with cheese cloth.  Pour the soup into the colander to strain out the solids.  Press mushrooms to extract as much liquid as possible and discard.  Place the liquid back into your soup pot and set to simmer on low.
  7. If you are feeling lazy, add the rest of the ingredients to the pot.  Adjust seasoning to taste, bring to a boil and allow to simmer for a further 15 minutes.  Then server with a scattering of fresh herbs.
  8. However, for extra flavor:
  9. Melt the rest of the butter in a large sauté pan, add the rest of the sherry allowing the alcohol to cook off a moment.  Add the mushrooms with a sprinkle of salt and sauté until golden.
  10. Right before removing the mushrooms from the flame, add the chopped tarragon and thyme leaves (pulled off the stems).  Place the sautéed mushrooms into the soup base and bring the soup to a boil.  Add the cayenne, black pepper, and adjust salt if necessary.  Simmer for 15 minutes.
Recipe Notes

Serve with crusty bread and nice salad. Delicious!


[1]  I used a mixture of white and Portabella for a deeper flavor


[2]  By leaving the garlic whole and browning it slight with the butter you get a gentle garlic nuance without overwhelming the more delicate mushroom flavors.


[3]  I used a teaspoon of “Better than Bullion” which smelled like beef jerky.  And really its not necessary, just adds a depth of flavor to the soup.


Three Potato Chowder
Course: Soup
  • ½ C water
  • 1 C halved and sliced leeks , cut in half
  • ¾ C chopped celery
  • ½ C sliced carrots
  • 1-2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 4 C Veg Broth
  • 1 C EACH chopped and unpeeled purple , red, yellow potatoes
  • 1 T parsley flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ T soy sauce
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Place the water, leeks, celery, carrots and garlic in a soup pot.
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the broth, potatoes and seasonings.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and cook over low heat for 40 minutes.
  5. Remove the Bay Leaf.
  6. Serve with fresh bread.