Old-fashioned Cream of Mushroom Soup

Cream of Rushroom Soup

I am so fortunate to have such wonderful readers, and am humbled  by their kindness and thoughtfulness. Recently one reader, Judy L., gave me a special hundred-year-old cookbook out of her collection. The book is called For Luncheon and Supper Guests by Alice Bradley. Judy  is not sure, but the cookbook may have belonged to her grandmother. The small book has 10 menus and more than 100 recipes that are:

Suitable for company luncheons, Sunday night suppers, afternoon parties, automobile picnics, evening spreads, and for the tea room, lunch room, coffee shops, and motor inns.

The book’s author dedicated it to:

The thousands of women who like to entertain their friends and prepare for them something new and delicious to eat.

The book is a joy to browse through, and I can picture cooks a hundred years ago using it to plan lovely events. Judy, thank you!

The first recipe I made out of the book was the recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup. I tend to associate Cream of Mushroom Soup with the condensed canned soup and think of it as more of a recipe ingredient than something to eat on its own. Yet the old cookbook recommended it as a special dish to serve guests, so I decided to give it a try.

This recipe is for a delicate, velvety smooth mushrooms soup that was perfect on a cold winter day – and that would be delightful for a light lunch with friends.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for Cream of Mushroom Soup
Source: For Luncheon and Supper Guests (1922) by Alice Bradley

When I made this recipe I bought an 8-ounce box of whole button mushrooms – and chopped the entire mushrooms rather than buying more mushrooms and only using the stems and skins. (By the way, what is a mushroom skin?)

The old recipe says to serve the soup in bouillon cups which made me think about presentation. How would a hostess in days gone by serve  this soup to her lunch guests? I then remembered some vintage luncheon plates way in the back of the top shelf of my kitchen cabinets. They have an indentation for a  small matching bowl. I pulled my step stool over, climbed up and got one of the plates and bowls out. I then made a sandwich to go with my soup. And, suddenly, with just a little imagination, my boring Saturday lunch was transformed into a beautifully presented luncheon in a different time and place.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • Servings: 4 - 6
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Here’s the recipe updated for modern cooks:

2 cups milk

1/2 pound (8 oz.) mushrooms, chopped

1/4 cup onion, chopped

3 cups chicken broth

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons flour

1 1/2 teaspoons salt (Use less if the chicken broth contains salt.)

1/4 teaspoon  pepper

Put milk in a saucepan, and using medium heat, heat until it is scalded (just begins to boil); stir occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.

Put the mushrooms,  onions, and chicken broth in another saucepan, and bring to a boil using high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, and strain; keeping the liquid. (The vegetables can be discarded or served separately.

In the meantime, melt the butter in a large saucepan. Stir in the flour, salt, and pepper, then gradually add the mushroom broth while stirring constantly, Using medium heat bring to a boil while continuing to stir occasionally;  then stir in the scalded milk and reheat until hot and steamy.

Note: This recipe is for a silky smooth mushroom soup, but if desired, the cooked chopped mushrooms and onions that were strained out when making the mushroom broth, can be stirred back into the soup for a more robust chunky soup.


37 thoughts on “Old-fashioned Cream of Mushroom Soup

  1. I grew up knowing mushroom soup only as an ingredient in casseroles, and you can bet it came out of a can. I never had eaten it as a soup. However: I recently spotted Amy’s organic mushroom soup in the store, and decided to try it. It was as different from what I’d grown accustomed to as homemade bread is from the dollar loaf at the store. Now, I’m eager to try this recipe.

  2. What a special gift! Wonderful. And this soup is similar to the one I often make, apart from the fact that the recipe here uses a LOT of flour, and I tend to use single cream rather than milk. It’s a lovely soup though, especially in winter.

  3. Love the pretty little luncheon bowl set! Perfect for this soup. I like that you used the entire mushrooms and gave an option to put the chunks back in, which I would definitely do!
    I suspect this recipe was designed to use up the stems from a bunch of mushrooms from another recipe. Maybe the cookbook has a recipe for stuffed mushrooms?

    1. You guessed right. I used the entire mushrooms. I couldn’t imagine buying enough mushrooms to get 8 ounces of stems; and had no idea how I’d used the caps. That said, your suggestion that the caps might be used to make stuffed mushrooms sounds really good.

  4. The presentation in your bowl and plate is perfect for this creamy smooth soup. I can actually picture a group of ladies sitting around dressed to the nines having lunch before playing bridge. I will be curious as to what dainty delights might be next, so I hope you will treat us to lunch again!

    1. I also pictured a similar group of women. I already have several other recipes identified in this cookbook that I want to make sometime during 2022.

  5. In a (Dutch) cookbook with recipes going back to 1790 (receptenboek van mevrouw Marselis) we found a recipe for mushrooms in cream. One of the instructions is to indeed peel the mushrooms!

    1. It was such a very thoughtful gift – and I know that I’ll use recipes from it several times during 2022 so you and other readers will all get the benefit of me having additional 1922 recipes to choose from.

  6. What a nice recipe! It’s very similar to what I make and have taught my oldest grandson how to prepare; this one does have a nice texture. I’ve never seen a snack set with a bowl. Yours is beautiful and perfect for the soup/sandwich combination; a nice presentation! I’m looking forward to more recipes from this book.

    1. I’m not sure why anyone would want to peel a mushroom, but I think that people were more likely to peel many fruits and vegetables a hundred years ago than they are now. For example, I’ve seen many old salad recipes that call for peeling tomatoes.

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