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

Creamy Mushroom Soup

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.

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

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.


Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Soup

Creamy Mushroom and Chicken Soup


  • 1 oz. of dried porcini or mixed mushrooms
  • A few sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 42 oz. low-sodium chicken broth, more or less as needed
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast; cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large sweet onion, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced
  • 2 to 3 carrots, diced
  • A pinch of crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
  • 4 to 6 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 8 oz. white button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 1 large portabella mushroom, cleaned and sliced
  • 1 cup of dry white wine, halved
  • 1 large Idaho potato, cut into .5” chunks
  • 3 to 4 tbsp. fresh tarragon, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cream
  • 1/4 cup sherry
  • Optional Garnish: Enoki Mushrooms, cleaned and trim ends


  1. Add dried mushrooms, thyme, bay leaves and chicken broth to a medium pot. Turn the heat to a medium and cover. Bring pot to a boil and turn off the heat. Let sit for about 30 minutes for the mushrooms to rehydrate. Strain and reserve broth over a fine-mesh sieve that's placed over a large bowl. Separate the bay leaves and thyme to return them to the same bowl as the broth. When the mushrooms are cool enough to handle, roughly chop them. Separately set both the mushrooms and broth aside.
  2. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. When the pot is hot, add olive oil. After a few seconds, add the chicken to sauté until it starts to turn golden brown. Remove chicken from pot onto a paper-towel lined plate and set aside.
  3. Add onions, celery, carrots, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper to the same pot. Cook until the onion is translucent. Stir in garlic for about 15 seconds.
  4. Mix in all the mushrooms (except the rehydrated mushrooms) and wine. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Occasionally stir until the mushrooms reduce in size to about half its size.
  5. Stir in the rehydrated mushrooms, reserved chicken broth and potatoes. Adjust the seasoning, if necessary. Cover the soup and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature to bring the soup to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Add the cream, sherry, parsley and tarragon. Bring the soup back to a simmer. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.
  7. Ladle soup into bowls. Garnish with enoki mushrooms and serve the soup with a slice of toasted multi-grain bread or garlic bread.


For a vegetarian version, omit step two. Add canned and rinsed white kidney beans to step five. Use vegetable instead of chicken stock. Instead of dairy cream, use plain, unsweetened nut milk or cream.

{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.


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

  • March 4, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    I love this soup! I love how you used two different types of mushrooms and and tarragon in it. It looks SO good! Thanks for the comment on my site! 🙂

  • March 3, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Lovely post … a nice variation on plain home made mushroom soup. The white wine must add that lush layer of flavor, complimenting and enriching all the ingredients. Your soup looks artful too!

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