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The vegan cream of mushroom soup recipe that made me not hate mushroom soup

When I was a kid, I'd live in fear of cream of mushroom soup. Occasionally, my mum would buy cans of the stuff and feed it to us for lunch. The horror of its funky taste and oddly cuboid, oddly bouncy chunks of mushroom floating in it never left me and I've never really eaten it since.

I must have something of a masochistic streak in me, because the other day when a box of mushrooms got delivered in my veg box, I decided that a cream of mushroom soup was exactly what I'd make with them.

Was such a decision bravery or stupidity? I'm not sure, but it paid off. This was actually tasty and, you know, I'd make it again. The memory of those nasty tins has well and truly been banished.

You'll note that this recipe calls for one really odd ingredient - tarragon and garlic vodka. This is something me and my friend K created - it's just normal, cheap-ass vodka that's had a clove or two of garlic and some strands of tarragon left to infuse for a few weeks, then been strained though a coffee filter. If you fancy making it yourself, it'll give you a most delicious bloody mary. If you don't, you can use normal vodka in this recipe, or leave it out altogether.

Vegan cream of mushroom soup

Makes two small bowls or one huge one

Half an onion, finely diced
Half a celery stick, finely diced
Two cloves of garlic, finely chopped
150ml non-dairy milk (I used soy)
150ml of vegetable stock (I used Marigold)
200g chestnut mushrooms, quartered if small, cut into chunks if large
Half a teaspoon of finely chopped fresh rosemary
Hearty squeeze of lemon juice
2tsb tarragon and garlic vodka
Salt and white pepper to taste

How you do it
Sweat the onion and celery in a bit of oil until soft - 5 minutes or so - then add in the garlic and sweat for another minute.
Add in the mushrooms and stir for another few minutes, until the mushrooms have some colour and are beginning to lose their liquid and shrink in size.
Add in the milk and stock, and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
After that, all the veggies should be soft. Take out a ladle or two of the soup from the pan and blend it with a hand blender, liquidiser or food processor, then return it to the rest of the soup. If you like a chunky soup, omit this step; if you like a smooth one, blend it all. Your choice.
Add the rosemary, lemon juice and vodka, and stir til all combined. Taste, then add the salt and pepper.
Serve, topped with a bit more rosemary and some vegan sour cream (I'm using Sour Supreme) if you've got some.

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  1. I am glad my mum never served us cream of mushroom soup out of a tin - I always associate it with bad 1970s recipes - but am happy to hear there is hope for those who have taken against creamy mushroom soup.

  2. Ha ha ha, I remember that gloppy mushroom soup that came in the can, the kind that held its shape when you poured it out...and I used to love it! Nowadays I don't think I would enjoy it (plus, being vegan and all), so this looks far better.

  3. This looks like it would hit the spot on a cool autumn evening. I like a bit of lemon juice with creamy dishes, and the muddled vodka sounds really good. Agreed that canned mushroom soup is dismal.

  4. I didn't like mushrooms until I was an adult, but as my mother doesn't eat them - I wasn't asked to eat them as a child! This soup looks divine, and ooh- -savory vodka!! ;)

  5. Oh, what I'd give for a bowlful of your mushroomy soup! I absolutely adore mushrooms, although as a super picky kid, I wouldn't have gone near the stuff in my younger years either. Thank goodness we both wised up a bit... I can't imagine missing out on a gem like this recipe.

  6. I have the same memory, one taste of canned cream of mushroom soup as a youngster and never ever again. But I love mushrooms and years later I've found homemade taste way better. Your version looks especially good with those big chunks of mushrooms. :-)


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