The Art of Making Cream of Mushroom {and Chicken} Soup, Not Inspired from the Can

A Mushroom Tribute to Andy Warhol
A Mushroom Tribute to Andy Warhol

Strolling through a museum, a friend asked if I liked Andy Warhol. The answer is usually automated: “Yes, he’s one of the greatest artists of the 20th century!” On that day my perception of art was being challenged, for I wanted to think about my answer. “I don’t know,” was my response, “My opinion right now is based on what art classes tell me to like.” Andy Warhol spiced up his creativity by using ordinary objects in pop culture. He screen printed an image of the canned Cream of Mushroom soup because of its banality of flavor. That day, I had the lovely pleasure of viewing artwork from other artists made with dirt, sticks and clay shaped like unmentionables. It was artwork inspired from the can.

“I used to drink it. I used to have the same lunch every day, for twenty years, I guess, the same thing over and over again.” – Andy Warhol of {brand mentioned here} soup.*

Just like some visual artists, a few cooks have been inspired from the can, too. Everyone has been served a vegetable casserole using canned Cream of Mushroom soup. Its texture and plain taste is used in many recipes meant to imitate cream. The art of creating a true masterpiece has been lost. Of course, depending on one’s personal taste, that’s an opinion.

With basic culinary skills, this Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Soup is quick to create. Just like using a can opener, the prepping of ingredients is easy. Instead of eating diced pieces of the same mushroom, meaty portabella is added. Dried porcini mushrooms make the flavor more robust. The rest of the vegetables are roughly chopped into large pieces. Chicken and potatoes turn this recipe into an actual meal, instead of a drink. There’s even a healthy option of adding fresh spinach. Using organic cream, white wine, and butter, it’s a richer taste than the canned version. That’s a justified opinion.


{Sat., April 3, 2010} This blog post made it to round 1 of the competition, Eating Your Words.

{Tues., March 16, 2010} The Dabble has a fresh tomato soup that looks delicious to make. The orange zest looks like an interesting ingredient. Flexi-whatchamacallit and Tomato Soup with Goat Cheese Crostini

{Wed., March 10, 2010} It seems Andy Warhol has inspired other cooks. Mystery Lover’s Kitchen recently posted a Tomato Soup Cake Recipe. I’m sure that’s a masterpiece.

Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Soup

Creamy Mushroom Chicken Soup
Creamy Mushroom Chicken Soup

1/2 lb. chicken breast, skinless, boneless; cut into 1 inch cubes
1 large vidalia onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
3 stalks of celery, diced
pinch of crushed red pepper, to taste
1 lb. white button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
3 large portabella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
9 oz. of dried porcini mushrooms, rehydrated in 3 to 5 cups of hot water; reserving liquid
1 cup of dry white wine, halved
2 tbsp. butter
1 large Idaho potato, cut into 1 inch pieces
Chicken stock, amount varies
3 to 4 tbsp. fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
A few sprigs of thyme
1/4 cup of Italian parsley, roughly chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup of fresh cream

1. In a large pot, heat olive oil in medium-high heat. Saute chicken until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove chicken from pot and set aside.

2. Add onions and cook until golden brown/translucent. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Mix in celery and stir for 2 minutes. Add crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.

3. Mix in the white button mushrooms, the portabella mushrooms, half the wine, butter, salt and pepper. Stir until the mushrooms soften.

4. Add the porcini mushrooms, fresh herbs, potato, salt and pepper. Stir occasionally for three to five minutes.

5. Add the porcini mushroom liquid and the rest of the wine. If the mixture needs more liquid, add chicken stock. Cover the soup and bring to a boil.

6. Cover the soup and reduce heat to bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.

7. Add the cream and bring the soup back to a simmer. Adjust seasoning.

8. Ladle soup into bowls and serve with a slice of toasted multi-grain bread or garlic bread.

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