One of my goals this year in a part of living more simply is just to learn how to do the “convenience” foods easily with the foods that I already have on hand… instead of feeling like I need a bunch of ingredients to get dinner on the table.
A small way I’m doing that is by relying less on “staples” like canned soup, especially of the “creamed” variety.
If I have to be honest, we haven’t used a lot of a creamed of anything soups for a while, because of the additives and extras that I’m not a fan of. For instance, to make homemade cream of mushroom soup, you need 4 ingredients, up to six if you want actual cream in it and add salt.
Let’s look at the ingredients of what is in one of the most popular versions of mushroom soup. I copied and pasted directly from their website.
WATER, MUSHROOMS, VEGETABLE OIL (CORN, CANOLA AND/OR SOYBEAN), CREAM, MODIFIED CORNSTARCH, WHEAT FLOUR, SALT, MODIFIED MILK INGREDIENTS, SOY PROTEIN ISOLATE, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, TOMATO PASTE, FLAVOUR, YEAST EXTRACT, DEHYDRATED GARLIC.
That’s a total of 14 ingredients, and that’s not counting any extra anything that sneaks in with vegetable oil, the modified milk ingredientS (plural means more than one, the last time I checked…), and also whatever is included in “flavour.”
(I’m not even going to go down the rabbit hole of what monosodium glutamate is… but it’s better known as MSG, if that helps get an idea. And some people really might be surprised to find soy in a cream of anything soup.)
So, what do you need to make your own creamed soup at home?
Easy: Butter. Flour.* Milk and/or cream. And then whatever other ingredient you want to be creamy. So, chicken for cream of chicken soup. Celery for cream of celery soup. Mushroom for mushroom.
(I’ll stop insulting your intelligence now. Ha!)
Oh, and salt and pepper, if you want to season the soup specifically vs. seasoning it with whatever you might be mixing it with.
Let’s chat steps. They are super easy.
First, melt your butter. For a medium thickness, you’ll start with 2 TBS.
If you are making a celery of mushroom soup, you’ll add it and soften it in the butter before adding salt and flour.
Once the butter is melted and your vegetables are softened…
Add the flour. For a medium thickness, you’ll add with 2 TBS.
Use a whisk to prevent lumps. Once it is incorporated…
Add 1 cup of liquid. Most of the time, it will be milk. In the case of cream of chicken, it should be half broth, half milk… and then add the cooked chicken.
Add salt as desired.
If you want the soup to be runnier or thicker, you’ll reduce or increase the amount of butter/flour at the beginning before adding the liquid. The flour and butter will be in equal amounts to each other.
How simple is that?
And can I say HOW MUCH BETTER it tastes? My 9 year old taste-tested and just asked me to make the soup for dinner all by itself.
Maybe next time, E… this batch is already claimed for a one-dish meal for dinner tonight. 😉
* For people who are gluten free, you can totally sub a gluten free flour here, but you might have to modify the amount of liquid, as gluten free flours with coconut flour are more absorbent. And I’ve even used almond flour itself as a replacement, but the texture is more “gritty” vs smooth, and obviously the fat is higher than the regular flour counterpart. It is definitely a viable substitute for those want to a much lower carb or flour-free version of the soup, though.