Friday, September 4, 2009

Cream of Mushroom Soup, Just Say NO!

Come, let us harken back to a time when Cream of "anything" soup did not exist.

Can anyone please post a recipe on the internet for a casserole that does not involve opening a can of "Cream of Glop" and mixing it into noodles, rice or stuffing with some chicken and vegetables?

This is what was going through my mind tonight when I was pondering what to do with some frozen chicken breasts and I hit on the idea of a casserole of some type. I challenge you to google "chicken casserole" and find me one that does not contain "cream of --- soup" in the ingredients list.

Since I do not stock Cream of --- Soup in my pantry I have learned a very tricky way to substitute for it by making an old fashioned cream sauce from natural ingredients. The beauty of this is that is does not require a long list of chemicals and it tastes good. The downside is that you have to actually do a little bit of cooking. But, trust me, it is very little and can be done by any novice.

You can make this with some basic ingredients that you should have on hand anyway:

Onion, mushrooms, butter or light olive oil, flour, chicken stock, milk or cream, salt and pepper.

You really should keep some heavy cream or half and half on hand. The ultra pasteurized stuff has a very long shelf life and if you buy a pint to use for sauces it is well worth it. DO NOT buy Fat Free Half and Half or Cream! There is no such thing in the natural world, and it should be illegal to label it that way but they do sell such a thing and it is not fit for human consumption.

So, here is what you do to make your basic sauce.

Chop up some onions and mushrooms, about 1/2 onion and 4 ounces of mushrooms. Heat a pan over medium high and add a couple tablespoons of butter to the pan. When the butter is melted add the vegetables, season with salt and pepper and saute for a while until limp. Add 1/4 cup of flour to the pan and cook over medium heat until the flour is all absorbed in the vegetable/oil mixture, add a little more butter or oil if neccessary. Add 2 cups of chicken stock to the pan, stirring it in slowly, bring up to a simmer over med/high heat. It will be very thick once it comes to a boil. Add 1 cup of cream or milk. Bring to boil again to thicken. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Thats it. No can opener needed.