Cream of Mushroom Soup and Stocks

For week one of the Julia Child cookbook, I made both chicken and beef stock on Saturday, and Cream of Mushroom Soup on Sunday.  I had made broth before, but never stock- which is a little bit more involved with the degreasing process.  I had decided to try both beef and chicken stock.  So, here are the ingredients for both stocks on my chopping block (same ingredients for both recipes, minus the respective meat):
Onions, carrots, celery, parsely, garlic, thyme, and salt.  And below, here they are: beef and chicken, side by side:

Here’s the chicken:  she calls for a “stewing hen,” but all I found were fryers…at least it was antibiotic free!

 And the beef (I promise it’s in there): I used oxtail.

After hours and hours of skimming and simmering, the flavors melded into a very flavorful broth, which then had to be cooled, followed by skimming off the rest of the fat (this step makes the difference between a leaner stock and a fatty broth), and then, finally, stored.

In the above picture, you can see the “white” chicken stock on the left (hence the recipe’s name: Fonds Blanc de Volaille = White Chicken Stock), and the “brown” beef stock on the right (hence, Fonds Brun, or Brown Stock).  It was a 2 day process for me, but now I have enough stock for hopefully a couple of months!!

As a bonus, here’s the snow we graciously received on Friday overnight:

Looks can be deceiving, but we supposedly got about a foot, about typical for the Lake Effect overnight.  Makes for instant coziness over the weekend (or terrible traffic during the week, lol!).  The snow and I are trying to make peace this year…trying.  We did get snowshoes for Christmas this year, so the snow and I will be getting pretty cozy…

Anyway, the next recipe was perfect for this weekend, too, since I had a cold/viral plague.  I made Julia’s Cream of Mushroom Soup.  It was unlike any other Cream of Mushroom Soup I’ve ever had…and that stuff out of the can doesn’t even approximate how velvety and buttery it was.  Now, I did say that I would try to follow her recipes exactly, only making minor changes to make them slightly more healthy.  Which, by the way, I’m sure Julia herself would absolutely hate.  But, being that this needs to be practical for me, this is how I’ve chosen to do! I would encourage everyone to pick up a copy of her cookbook, if for no other reason than the methods and instructions.  She gives excellent step-by-step instructions, which I will paraphrase in my blog, but I would really, really recommend picking up her book if any one wants to try these recipes! Here’s a link to her original recipe.

My Version of Julia Child’s Cream of Mushroom Soup
(serves 6)

1/4 c. onions, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Whole Wheat Flour
6 cups of Boiling White Stock (I used the stock I made fresh!)
1 bay leaf
2 stems of parsley
1 tsp. thyme
salt & pepper
1 lb. button mushrooms, stems chopped separately, and caps sliced very thin
1/2 Tbsp. butter
1/2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
2 egg yolks
2/3 c. Soy Milk (or any other thick substitute; she obviously calls for heavy cream)
1 Tbsp. Butter

In 2-3 qt. saucepan, melt the butter with the olive oil and cook the onions until soft (not browned).  Stir in the flour to make a paste; cook another 2-3 minutes.  Using a whisk, beat in the stock, add the mushroom stems, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme, and season as desired with salt & pepper.  Stir, heat over medium, for about 5-8 minutes.

With a slotted spoon or a colander, filter out the soup until only the liquid remains.  Press the juice from the mushrooms, and add this liquid to the pot.  Return to simmer, an additional 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium saute pan,  melt the butter in the oil, and add the mushroom caps, lemon juice, and salt; cover and cook about 5 minutes.  Add this to the soup, including the liquid.

In a small bowl, beat the 2 egg yolks with the soy milk until smooth consistency.  Add 1/4 cup of the soup to the yolk mixture at a time and beat until smooth (we do this so that the egg yolks don’t cook when we add it to the soup).  Repeat 3 more times, until you’ve added 1 cup of the soup liquid to the beaten yolks, and add all of this liquid to the remainder of the soup in the pot, stirring while adding.  Over medium heat, continue to heat the soup through, but stir the soup so that it does not boil, for about 10 minutes (it should thicken a little).

Serve & enjoy!

This soup was soooo incredibly velvety, and a little nuttiness from the butter, I guess.  It was still delicious, even with my small changes.  Of course it made too much for just me and the Hubbs, so we froze the rest, and it is destined for some green bean casserole action (I cannot wait!!  I love green bean casserole!!)  I served it with a glass of wine, a little side salad, and a little Brie and Petit Toasts, it couldn’t be more French!! Week 1 was a success!!

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