Mushroom soup is one of my favorites, yet it’s one I’ve not made for ages because my husband was not crazy about mushrooms. So this lovely recipe languished in the archives, waiting to be reborn.
Coming across the old scribbled page a few days ago, I decided to update it. The new recipe came out even better than the original. And yes, I now have a new mushroom soup fan. I hope you will try this leek and mushroom soup recipe.
Hearty, Earthy Leek and Mushroom Soup
Mushrooms lend an earthy, meaty taste and texture to soup. They are also beneficial, nutritionally speaking, supplying selenium, potassium, riboflavin, niacin, vitamins D, B3 and B2 plus other nutrients. Studies show that mushrooms offer anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting properties. Bottom line – mushrooms are good for you!
When buying mushrooms, look for firm caps that are closed with no exposed gills. This is a sign of freshness. Mushrooms should not have brown spots, be slimy or withered. Buy organic if you can.
For this soup I use both white and brown (cremini) mushrooms, but you can use all of either one.
Coconut Milk and Coconut Butter
One update was to change dairy milk to a plant-based milk, from half and half (or cream) to coconut milk. Not just for cocktails with little umbrellas or curry dishes, coconut milk provides a rich creaminess to this soup, and surprisingly, without coconut flavor.
While coconut milk used to get a bad rap because of saturated fat, not to worry. It’s a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA’s). Our bodies easily and efficiently burn MCFA’s for energy. Even better, MCFA’s may be beneficial for heart health and boost our immune systems. The brand I prefer is Native Forest. It’s rich, thick, organic and they use a BPA-free can, even though the label does not say so. I called the company to check.
Another update was using organic Coconut Spread from Earth Balance instead of dairy butter. Its gluten-free, lactose-free, soy-free and just plain delicious. Use it like you use butter.
Prep Your Vegetables
To wash mushrooms, trim the stems, then give them a quick rinse under a trickle of water, rubbing them in your hands, then roll in paper towels to dry.
Next, thinly slice mushrooms. A food processor with a slicing blade makes this fast, but you can also do it by hand (good knife practice).
For leeks, chop off the dark green top and root end. Discard or save for making vegetable or chicken broth. Slice the leek in half lengthwise and rinse under cold water to remove any dirt or sandy grit. Lay the leek halves flat on a cutting board and slice thinly. Next, chop the onion, garlic and tarragon.
Unfamiliar with tarragon? It’s a classic herb used in French cooking. It has an assertive, anise-like flavor that I love. Fresh is what I prefer to use as the flavor is better. If all you have is dried, use just 1 teaspoon instead of a tablespoon. If you are not a tarragon fan, use thyme instead.
Cook the Soup
In a large pot or pan (I use a 5 1/2 quart Le Creuset) melt the coconut butter over medium low heat and add the leeks and onion. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until leek and onion are soft but do not have any color. It will take about 5-7 minutes. Add tarragon and a little salt and pepper.
Add the mushrooms to the pot and turn heat up to medium. Cook until the mushrooms have given off their liquid and the liquid has mostly cooked away. Add lemon juice, broth (chicken or vegetable) and coconut milk. Heat through, and the soup is ready to serve. For garnish, serve with lemon wedges and extra chopped fresh tarragon. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
My homemade chicken broth recipe
My homemade vegetable broth recipe
Leek and mushroom soup is earthy and satisfying. Lemon gives this soup a lift of bright flavor and the tarragon lends an aromatic, anise-like flavor. A food processor makes quick work of thinly slicing the mushrooms, but you can slice them by hand. If you don’t like tarragon, use thyme. If you are unfamiliar with cleaning and cutting leeks, please see post.
- 2 pounds (1 kilo) fresh mushrooms (white, brown cremini or combination)
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil or coconut butter spread
- 1 cup thinly sliced leek
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced (very finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon fresh chopped tarragon leaves (or fresh thyme)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (preferably Meyer lemon)
- 4 cups (1 liter) chicken or vegetable broth (preferably homemade)
- 3/4 cup ( 175 ml) coconut milk (not low fat)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Prep mushrooms – With a paring knife, trim mushrooms stems flush to the base. Discard stems. To clean mushrooms, cup 2-3 mushrooms in your hands and quickly run them under a trickle of cold water, rubbing the mushrooms gently between your hands. Place washed mushrooms on a clean kitchen towel or paper towel. Slice mushrooms about 1/8″ thick (3 mm) in a food processor with the slicing blade or by hand.
- In a large pot (5 quart) heat oil over medium low heat. Add the leek and onion and cook slowly until soft, stirring occasionally, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic and tarragon, cook 1 more minute, stirring. Add mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms have given off their moisture and cooked down. Most of the liquid should be gone.
- Add the lemon juice, broth and coconut milk. Heat through and serve hot.
- Note – This soup will keep refrigerated for 4 days, so make it ahead on the weekend and enjoy during the week. It’s great for lunch or dinner.