Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Posted by    |  January 27, 2010  |  Filed under: Recipes

Jonesing for the cream of mushroom soup sort of sauce of your childhood?  Look no further.  Use this as a healthier alternative to cream of mushroom soup even in casseroles.  The volume made is comparable to what you’d get out of the can (give or take a little). Why bother?  Uh, read the label on the can-MSG and loads of sodium.

This is also even nicer made in a pan with some fond from sautéed meat or with de-fatted pan drippings from a roast (replace some of chicken stock with pan drippings to arrive at same amount).

1 large shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons, but who’s measuring?)
1 pound mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or chopped tarragon
¼ cup all purpose flour
¾ cup chicken broth or stock
¼ cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the vegetables

  1. In a sauté pan or skillet over medium heat, add butter or oil and sauté shallot and fennel for 1-2 minutes, until softened.  Season with a generous pinch of kosher salt.
  2. Add mushrooms.  Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated from them, tossing frequently, about 5 minutes.  Season lightly again.
  3. Add herbs and cook one more minute.

Make roux

  1. Add flour to pan and stir to combine.  It should look moist and clumpy, but not dry or doughy.  If flour seems dry, add a bit more oil or butter.  If doughy, leave it.  Cook about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, making sure the fond is not burning on the pan bottom.

Develop sauce

  1. Add the stock, raise heat to medium high.  Stir with a wisk to combine.  Bring to a boil and then back the heat off to a simmer.  Allow sauce to thicken, frequently whisking the pan to deglaze fond.
  2. When  thickened, add heavy cream and herbs.  Stir to combine.
  3. Adjust salt and pepper seasoning before serving.

Off script…

Turn this into a creamy chicken and mushroom gravy to serve over crepes, mashed potatoes, spaetzle or egg noodles.  You can make it more dairy creamy by substituting all of the broth for milk (more cream of mushroom soupy) or more gravyish by sticking with the broth.  Just finish by adding cooked chicken—I always use the pickings of a roasted chicken from the earlier in the week (–or month.  Just freeze these pickins in a zip top bag if you’re not feeling like eating chicken again that week.

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