My husband brought home 5 small tubs of fresh button mushrooms that needed to be used right away. My thought was to make Cream of Mushroom Soup. This is the recipe I developed with rather good results and received a lot of compliments on it.
1Clean mushrooms with a damp paper towel; cut into quarters and set aside. Clean celery stalks, removing leaves and small stems, chop fine, and set aside.
2Using a large stock pot, melt butter on low heat. Once melted, turn heat up to medium-low until butter starts to bubble. Put in chopped mushrooms and diced celery. Add thyme, lemon pepper, salt and pepper. Stir contents to blend. Cover pot and let the mushrooms and celery sweat cook in pan for about 10 minutes to get as much moisture out of them as possible.
3Meanwhile, heat 4 cups of water in the microwave or on the stove top until very hot. Add the onion soup mix to the water, stir to mix, and set aside. Once the mushrooms, celery and herbs have finished sweating, add flour to mixture in pot. Stir until all flour is incorporated and a rue is formed. Pour water and soup mix in pot, along with the Worcestershire sauce, and stir to blend all ingredients. Continue to stir as mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken. Once the thickening process has stopped, turn heat down to low. This should take about 5 minutes
4Using and immersion blender, break down the chunks of mushroom to the desired texture you want for your soup. I minced the mushrooms and left some chunks remain. If you don't have an immersion blender, then allow the soup to cool slightly and, using a blender or food processor, process the mushroom mixture to desired texture in batches, returning soup to the stockpot when done.
5Once processed soup is back in the pot, stir the half and half into the soup mixture, as well as the instant mashed potatoes. Stir well to incorporate the instant potatoes and continue to heat on low. DO NOT allow the soup to come to a boil once the half and half has been added. Continue to heat on low for another 15 minutes stirring at intervals to keep soup from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
6Serve soup, along with a tossed greens salad and crusty french bread for a complete meal. Enjoy!