Today is my Mom Penny’s birthday! Instead of cake, I’ve made her a heartwarming soup—mostly because it reminds me of her. It takes me back to the time when my Dad went on business trips and Mom would pull out the Campbell’s (or the Stouffer’s). Believe it or not, that was pure comfort to my older brother, Bernardo, and me. Maybe because Mom typically cooked every single day: breakfast, lunch, dinner. And don′t forget snack—what service we′d get when we returned home from school! Spoiled, we were! Thanks, Mom, and have the happiest of birthdays! Love, Silvana
Playing around in the kitchen while I soften the onions in butter for about 5 minutes, then I transfer them to a plate…
…and add some more butter to cook the mushrooms in until they’ve softened and all the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Then I return the onions to the pan,…
…stir in the broth and bring the mixture to a boil. If you want to keep it vegetarian, use vegetable broth. Otherwise, chicken broth works well here, too. I lower the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Then I add the cream, salt and pepper, and cook until heated through, but I do not let it come to a boil or it could curdle.
I transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree it. Be careful when you blend hot liquids. I like to cover the lid with a dishtowel to avoid any hot splatters.
I return the blended mixture to the pan and keep the soup, covered, warm over low heat.
To make the herb croutons, I stir together melted butter (you could use olive oil here, too) and a mix of fresh herbs.
Then drizzle the herb butter over the bread cubes, season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. I like to use my hands, but a wooden spoon works just fine. Then I toast the bread in a 375 º oven until crisp, about 15 minutes.
My favorite Campbell's soup was hands-down the cream of mushroom. This is my easy, straightforward version. Tomato bisque was definitely a close second. (My gluten-free, dairy-free interpretation of tomato bisque is on page 87 of Cooking for Isaiah.)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
Two 10-ounce containers white mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 ½ cups heavy cream
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons chopped fresh herbs (such as parsley, rosemary and thyme)
4 cups gluten-free bread, cut into cubes, such as Udi?s
- In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes; transfer to a plate. In the same saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter and add the mushrooms. Cook until softened and the liquid has evaporated, about 15 minutes. Return the onion to the pan and stir in the broth; bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the cream, 1 ½ teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper; cook until heated through, but do not boil.
- Transfer half of the mixture to a blender and puree. Return the mixture to the pan and keep warm.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 °. In a microwavable bowl, melt the remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Stir in the herbs. Spread the bread cubes evenly on a baking sheet, drizzle with the butter mixture and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Toast in the oven, stirring occasionally, until crisp and golden, about 15 minutes. To serve, top the soup with the croutons.