Not your Mamma’s Cream of Mushroom soup!

This weekend, I’m going to participate in a cooking demo at the Amis House in Rogersville, TN.

Constructed by Thomas Amis in 1780, the house and mill were at the edge of civilization, north west of the Watauga . Jake and Wendy Jacobs (who is a descendent of Thomas Amis) bought and restored the property and it’s now a fabulous eatery. There is a church nearby at the Ebb and Flowing Springs that is almost as old as the site and it’s being rededicated this weekend. As part of the festivities, Doug and Donna Ledbetter, Artie and Diane O’Neill and myself were asked to do a cooking demo to add a little 18th century flavor. That was a poor pun. Anyway, I thought and thought about what I could make and as it’s mushroom time in the mountains, I thought a variation of the Shirley Plantation Mushroom soup would be the very thing!

The original recipe is very simple:

  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons flour
  • 3 cups cream
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • Rinse, trim and chop mushrooms.

While mushrooms are being prepared, place butter in pan on trivet on the hearth, near to but not in the fire. Allow butter to melt slowly.

Stir in mushrooms. Cover pan and shovel a few coals under the trivet. Allow mushrooms to simmer slowly, stirring occasionally until done, about 15 minutes.

Stir in flour and continue cooking mushroom mixture. Stir occasionally until liquid is absorbed and flour is cooked.

Combine cream and milk in a separate pan and heat over flames until scalded (almost boiling).

When mushroom mixture is ready, slowly add hot liquid, salt and cayenne, stirring occasionally.

Continue to let soup cook a few minutes, stirring until slightly thickened. Correct seasoning and serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8.

— Shirley Plantation, via The Old Stone House

I played with this recipe tonight and sweetened the deal and oh my, it was unreal!

For one thing, I used button mushrooms and Shitake and upped the quantity to 2 pounds. I also added green onions to the mushrooms including the tops and besides a pinch of cayenne, I added pepper, fresh thyme, majoram and a spring of fresh rosemary. For a garnish tomorrow, I have some fresh watercress and sherry and i think it will be wonderful. Maybe it’s not the orginial soup but dolled up, it’s really excellent!