Welp, I’m sick again. This constantly changing weather thing is really wiping me out. I could have sworn after last week we were in the clear. But of course, New England obviously had other plans. I mentioned before that I usually make soup on only two occasions: 1. I’m sick/someone around me is sick and, 2. I have vegetables in my fridge on the brink of expiration. This time it was both the former and the latter. Mushrooms were on sale last week so I bought three packages. I know, a little over the top. But hey, I really like mushrooms and they didn’t go to waste.
If you’re a fan of mushrooms like me, you’ve possibly eaten cream of mushroom soup once or twice in your lifetime. If not, you’re missing out on a culinary gem. “Cream of” anything should automatically alert the brain that the two main ingredients are cream and butter. It doesn’t take much to know that these two ingredients will make anything delicious. It also doesn’t take much to know these ingredients typically result in a frighteningly calorie-dense dish. I like to lighten things up when possible and since heavy cream and butter aren’t usually staples in my diet, lighten up is exactly what I did.
I was unwilling to part with that creamy deliciousness that earns this soup a place in my heart. So, instead of eliminating cream altogether, I replaced the usual heavy cream with coconut milk and decided I would just live without the butter. The pureed cauliflower really helped here too. If you’re looking for an even lighter dish, I’m thinking you can eliminate the coconut milk altogether and double up on the cauliflower. This will result in a less smooth finished product; almost like a potato soup sort of texture. If you’re cool with that, go for it.
Xantham gum: This is a thickening agent sold at most specialty food stores, some grocery stores, and of course the trusty Amazon.com. They sell it at Walmart too, I think. If you don’t care about making this recipe gluten free, by all means just make a rue for thickening using your run of the mill white flour. Just keep in mind, you’ll most likely need a good amount more than the amount this recipe calls for in Xantham Gum. Start with 2 tbsp of flour, whisking rapidly into the pot to avoid clumping. If you want it a little thicker, add more flour. If using Xantham Gum, I promise you do not need more than 1 tsp. Otherwise you’ll end up with mushroom porridge.
Cauliflower Cream of Mushroom Soup
makes 5 servings
1 head cauliflower
1 whole bulb of garlic
16 oz baby bella mushrooms, sliced,
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tbsp thyme
3 bay leaves
1 handful parsley, chopped
16oz low sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup sherry wine
1/2 can coconut milk
1 tsp xantham gum (for thickening)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (F).
2. Chop cauliflower and toss in 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread out on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Next, peel away most of the papery outer layer on the bulb of garlic. Chop off about 1/4 inch of the bottom part of the bulb, exposing the cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in foil. Roast for 35-40 minutes, until cauliflower is browned and garlic is soft.
3. In a large pot add olive oil, mushrooms, sherry, vegetable broth, and herbs. Cover and simmer over medium high heat for 25 minutes or until mushrooms are soft.
4. When cauliflower and garlic are done, peel garlic and add with cauliflower to food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add to the pot with mushrooms. Whisk in cauliflower with coconut milk and cook covered over low heat for about 20 minutes. If soup is too thin, add xantham gum, whisking rapidly.
5. To serve, drizzle with olive oil and top with fresh thyme.