A hearty soup to warm you this winter

January 01, 2011

This soup will warm up your body without adding to your waistline. It's loaded with fresh veggies, seasonings and flavor without all the fat from loads of butter or cups of heavy cream.

 If you don't have shiitake or cremini mushrooms, you can substitute oyster, button — or whatever you prefer or have on hand.

This soup is easy to make and can be put together in a minimal amount of time.  

Canned or store-bought stock is fine; you can even use chicken or vegetable base to make an excellent stock to save you some time.

I find it very difficult to find the time to fully cook and prepare a made-from-scratch stock these days, but you don't need to when there are several quality bases on the market.

— Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Hearty mushroom potato soup

1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1/4 pound fresh cremini mushrooms, sliced

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, minced

4 tablespoons salted butter

3 tablespoons whole wheat flour (see cook's note)

2 cups 1 percent milk

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock (or vegetable broth)

2 cups potatoes, peeled and medium diced (use your favorite potato)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon hot sauce

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced

1/2 teaspoon fresh chives, minced

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Salt and pepper to taste

Prepare mushrooms by cleaning them under water and patting dry. Remove and discard stems from shiitake mushrooms.

Slice mushrooms. Sauté with shallots and garlic in butter until soft, but not brown.

Stir in flour to make a roux with the mushrooms and butter.  Add milk, chicken stock, potatoes, Worchestershire sauce, hot sauce, parsley, chives, lemon juice and salt and pepper.

Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Stir occasionally to allow an even cooking of the potatoes.

Makes 8 to 10 cups of soup

 For an extra touch, add some toppings such as apple-wood smoked bacon or pan-fried prosciutto ham, fresh-grated Parmesan or Asiago cheese and sour cream.

Cook's note: All-purpose flour will work as well, but increase to 4 tablespoons.

—Scott C. Anderson

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