I left this week’s challenge, Cream of Mushroom Soup, to the very last minute, and only had to give it one try. But I’m not as brave as I seem. Truth be told, I had the recipe simmering (ha ha) in the back of my mind. A few months ago, a reader had asked me to come up with an allergen-free version of her favorite baked casserole, which was dependent on Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup. I told her to sit tight, I’d get to it, and made a mental note to come up with a substitute for condensed soup.
So when “alleycat” challenged me to come up with Cream of Mushroom Soup last week, I jumped at the opportunity to work on two requests at once. I suppose I procrastinated making it till Thursday (due Friday) because on some subconscious level, I’d been working on the recipe for several months already. Thankfully I was right, and the soup is truly delicious.
The challenge here was to replicate the creaminess of cream (and oftentimes, egg yolks) that cream of mushroom soup is dependent upon. Also, I needed to find an alternative to all-purpose wheat flour, which is the traditional thickening agent. Luckily, tapioca starch/flour is a great gluten-free thickener, and quick-cooking tapioca can create the richness, and texture of the cream and eggs. I left this recipe kid-friendly in flavor, but if you like, feel free to top off each bowl with a Tablespoon of dry sherry and a sprig of fresh thyme. Any thoughts on what you’d like me to tackle for next week? If so, leave me a comment here.
Allergen-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
MAKES FOUR ½ cup SERVINGS
Even mushroom haters will like this creamy soup. It tastes like childhood and stands the test of time. Feel free to double the proportions for heartier servings. Serve with a salad and some gluten-free bread, and you’ve got a winner of a lunch.
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons finely minced shallots
- ½ lb. mushrooms, chopped (I use half button mushrooms, half crimini mushrooms)
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 Tablespoons tapioca starch/flour
- 2 ½ cups low-salt chicken broth-Kitchen Basics broths are allergen-free
- ½ teaspoon salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca
- ½ cup rice milk
- Heat olive oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, 3 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook 5 minutes more, until mushrooms are a rich golden brown, and aromatic.
- Add dried thyme and tapioca starch/flour, and stir well to coat mushrooms. Reduce heat to low, and cook, scraping bottom of pot often, 5 minutes. Break up any clumps that may form. Add 2 cups of the chicken broth, salt, and a few turns of freshly ground pepper. Stir well, and increase heat to medium-high. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low again, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Bring remaining ½ cup of the chicken broth to a boil (I boil it in the microwave in a glass Pyrex measuring cup, but you can also use a small sauce pan).
- Add quick-cooking tapioca and boiling chicken broth to the pot. Cook at a low simmer, until the tapioca is completely clear, stirring often. Add the rice milk, and puree in a blender, or using a hand blender. Heat soup through, and serve.
Allergen-Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
Copyright © 2010 by Cybele Pascal
(Please note that all my recipes are completely free of all top allergens (wheat, dairy, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, sesame, fish, shellfish, and gluten), so as many people as possible can enjoy them. Additionally, all the ingredients are available at Whole Foods, and online at Amazon.com. If you have trouble finding something, let me know and I’ll help you find it.)
SAFETY NOTE: Because each person's food sensitivity and reaction is unique, ranging from mild intolerance to life-threatening and severe food allergies, it is up to the consumer to monitor ingredients and manufacturing conditions. If manufacturing conditions, potential cross contact between foods, and ingredient derivatives pose a risk for you, please re-read all food labels and call the manufacturer to confirm potential allergen concerns before consumption. Ingredients and manufacturing practices can change overnight and without warning.
Cybele Pascal is the award-winning author of "The Allergen-Free Baker's Handbook" and the "Whole Foods Allergy Cookbook." She lives in Los Angeles with her food-allergic family: husband Adam, sons Lennon and Monte, and their dogs, Izzie and Carly (who also has food allergies). Please visit her website at CybelePascal.com.