I get a lot done on the Broadway Local R train from Manhattan to Brooklyn.
I fix my bangs in my reflection in the window.
(They look good.)
I read a few pages of a book before getting a headache.
(Words hurt my eyeballs.)
I stare at people.
And while I’m pretty sure the R train goes backwards sometimes just to spend more time with me (I get it R Train, these are precious moments but you typically smell weird), it’s as good a smelly confined time as any to come up with what I’m going to cook next. It’s also a really good time to doodle cashews soaking in bowls of water.
This is all leading to a point. Really.
I keep repinning the same cashew milk/cream/soaked nuts recipes on Pintrest over and over again. Sure my short term memory poor (remember when I said this was leading to a point? I don’t.) but it also just looks like a fun thing to try.
But what in the what did I want to make with some sort of pureed soaked nut? And that’s when the R train whispered in my ear, “Vegan Cream of Fancy Mushroom Soup.” Turns out “R Train” is also the name of the guy I was sitting next too. Uncomfortable.
But Vegan Cream of Fancy Mushroom Soup did sound like a really good idea. And cashew cream seemed like the perfect dairy-less base for it. With a few variations on a classic, my recipe is stuffed with all sorts of goodies. I call mushrooms “goodies” now. Also, I see you checking out my goodies.
(That time I was referring to my breasts.)
Let’s eat some soup, yeah?
Vegan Cream of Fancy Mushroom Soup
makes 6 servings, 3/4 cup each
*adapted from allrecipes.com
Let’s all just agree to get these things in one place:
- 1 cup of cashews, soaked in water overnight
- 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 25-50g shallots, chopped (I only had 25g left from a previous recipe but it was sufficient)
- clove of garlic, minced
- 3 oz hen of the woods mushrooms
- 8 oz mixed “gourmet” mushrooms – oyster/shiitake/baby bella
- 1 ½ cups of vegetable stock
- 1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon of coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons soy flour – or any flour of your choice
Let’s put those fancy pants mushrooms to good use:
Did you let your cashews soak in water while lightly covered for at least 8 hours? Damn straight you did. You’re a star. Now drain those nuts and rinse with cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer to a blender/food processor/powerful choppy thing and add enough water to cover the nuts by an inch. Process. More! When you have a smooth liquid, transfer to a bowl. You can strain it to get it smoother or not. Cashew cream’s in your court. Stir in your salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat up a skillet with a teaspoon of coconut oil and cook your shallots and garlic until the shallots are softened and the garlic is fragrant. Keep stirring to avoid burning the garlic. Add your mushrooms and vegetable stock and continue to cook for 10-15 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and scrumptious. Transfer the contents of the skillet to a food processor and pulse a few times. Keep some chunks or make it a little smoother if you prefer a less chunky soup. I like my soup chunky.
Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a medium sauce pan. Add the flour and whisk until combined. Pour in the seasoned cashew cream and the processed mushrooms and shallots mixture. Combine well and bring to a boil. Now let that sucker simmer (a slightly stronger than normal simmer works better, I think) until it’s thickened to your liking. I let mine simmer for 30 minutes or so. Make sure to adjust the salt and pepper to your taste as it cooks.
Eat some soup.
The only kind of soup I like is thicker, creamier soup. I’m really happy with how this cream-less cream soup turned out. The cashew cream is an awesome stand in for heavy cream. It’s got the same mouth feel as regular cream of mushroom soup and a really nice earthy flavor from the elevated mushrooms. With this soup, the fancier mushrooms are the stars, not just an afterthought of a heavy cream and butter roux.
So think of this soup as more of a celebration of mushrooms (way to go mushrooms!) than your regular cream of mushroom soup. And that’s good because vegans and vegetarians love celebrating vegetables. One might call it worshipping. One might find my altar to veggies kind of weird. One might shut up.