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kpmom

Substitutes for Cream of Whatever Soups

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kpmom

I've read some posts on FJ that refer to cream of chicken or mushroom soups as cream of crap.

I admit (a little embarrassed) that I do use these in casseroles sometimes (o.k., a lot).

Does anyone have any recommendations for a substitute for these?

I read somewhere maybe a simple white sauce could be used, but that seems very bland (although I usually use the low sodium or healthy choice variety).

Also, I am a very lazy cook (hence, the soups) so I'm looking for an easy substitute.

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ladyamylynn

A white sauce built around whatever flavor you need. Saute onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms,etc. in butter until soft and translucent, then add your flour and build a roux. Use half vegetable, mushroom, or chicken stock and half milk. Dried mushrooms reconstituted with a little white wine will add a nice flavor. Add fresh herbs, like thyme, savory, or dill.  Salt pepper, maybe a little lemon zest to punch up the flavor. Or simmer an old parmesan rind in your stock before adding it to the sauce. Stir in a tablespoon of tomato paste into the veggies as they saute or maybe some pureed roasted red peppers? This is disjointed but hopefully you get the idea.

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Waffle Time
catlady

I make cream of mushroom from scratch and freeze it in small containers. I can post a recipe later. It's not fabulous, but the unpronounceables aren't in it.  My white sauce is bland, so I add cheddar cheese when I make scalloped potatoes.

I'm a lazy cook too, and would like an easier method. I buy canned, but only rarely.  I do the scratch so that we can eat a little more healthily. 

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Happy
PennySycamore

My problem with making white sauce based things is that I love to eat the roux too much.  I start tasting it (to make sure the raw flour taste is gone) and bam, I've eaten too much!  Butter and flour -YUM!

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Pretzel

Mix one cup of your favorite broth and one cup heavy cream (or milk if you don't like cream). You can add a teaspoon corn starch to make sure it thickens properly during the cooking process. Add your favorite fresh herbs, veggies if you like and some chili and you're good to go. 

The use of canned soup in recipes is beyond me. It must be a typical American thing as I've never seen that in recipes here but some recipes ask you to use spice mixes which I don't use either. 

It takes less than 5 minutes to mix something to substitute the white gooey glob (I'm so sorry, the only pictures that come to mind are that of a duggarling mixing canned soup with meat and tater tots). 

For a roux heat a pan on the stove on high heat. Once hot, remove from heat. Add in 2 table spoons of butter. Have it melt and cook it on very low heat until the bubbles are gone. Add 1 heaped tablespoon of white flour. Stir for a minute or two so the flour can soak in the butter and lose its floury taste. Stir, cook, but don't let it brown. Add one cup of broth, one cup heavy cream. Turn up heat and let it cook for 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Proceed as advised above. Add more broth if sauce becomes too thick for your taste. Add spices, herbs etc. For a veggie based white sauce, fry the veggies in a bit of oil on medium heat. Remove from heat. Then add butter and flower and proceed as whit a normal roux. Stir well, always, don't let it become brown. It doesn't take longer than 5 minutes to make that soup base. 

Edited by Pretzel

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December

When I'm in a pinch, I go for one of the more upscale brands' version of cream of whatever soup. Homemade is always nicer, but I've found these are still a step up flavor- and ingredient-wise.

8 hours ago, Pretzel said:

The use of canned soup in recipes is beyond me. It must be a typical American thing as I've never seen that in recipes here but some recipes ask you to use spice mixes which I don't use either. 

 
 

At least one common recipe that calls for cream of mushroom soup was created to help sell it (green bean casserole). It wouldn't shock me if other recipes were promoted as needing a cream of whatever soup (vs. a homemade sauce) to do the same thing.

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princessmahina

If it's cream of mushroom, I like to add a little splash of cooking sherry and lots of black pepper. It brightens the flavor and makes it really yummy. On the rare occasion I make something like that (not huge into creamy food, don't know why), I use 3 tbsp butter or olive oil to an equal part flour + 1 cup of milk + splash of sherry + fresh mushrooms (sauteed in the fat before adding flour) + parsley/pepper/salt. 

I could eat it plain, which is why I don't make it that often.

Edited by princessmahina

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Bethella
On 1/19/2017 at 3:04 AM, Pretzel said:

The use of canned soup in recipes is beyond me. It must be a typical American thing as I've never seen that in recipes here but some recipes ask you to use spice mixes which I don't use either. 

It was a convenience thing in the 1950s/60s and was probably influenced by women entering the workforce and not having as much time to cook. We have a 1963 Good Housekeeping Cookbook that relies on convenience foods for a number of recipes (not all though). It includes such lovely recipes as:

  • Turketti (I suspect this is where Anna's infamous Chickenetti came from; it contains spaghetti, canned turkey/chicken, ham, canned pimento, green pepper, cream of mushroom soup, canned chicken broth, celery salt, pepper, onion, and processed cheddar cheese) 
  • Macaroni-and-Bean Casserole (canned macaroni and cheese, processed cheddar cheese and canned green beans- combine and bake)
  • Deviled Ham a la Creme (canned deviled ham topped with sour cream mixed with season salt and dill weed and green grapes, serve cold with crackers)
  • Can-Opener Minestrone (canned condensed vegetable soup, canned condensed chicken noodle soup, water, canned kidney beans, garlic, and parsley, heat everything together and top with Parmesan cheese)
  • The Instant Potato Family: Instant potato products, now waiting for you on your grocer's shelves, are one of the wonders of our times. You'll find mashed, hashed brown, scalloped, au gratin, frying potatoes, potato pancakes, bakers in sour cream or cheese sauce, etc. New ones keep popping up. Such chores as paring, slicing, grating, and mashing have all been done for you. 
  • Frozen Vegetables: Do try some of the new, delectable, loose-frozen vegetable combinations, vegetables with sauces, vegetables with butter sauce, spinach souffle, corn souffle, potatoes au gratin, hashed in cream, etc., now in your grocer's freezer. They come all ready to heat- some in boilable film bags, some in foil pans to heat in the oven,  some ready to turn into a pot for very brief cooking. Just follow label directions.

There are some redeeming recipes so we keep it around but some of them are just nasty.

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DaniLouisiana

Would someone mind explaining just what a "parmesan rind" is? I get the cheese part, but not the rind. I never seen a cheese with except brie.

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ladyamylynn
9 minutes ago, DaniLouisiana said:

Would someone mind explaining just what a "parmesan rind" is? I get the cheese part, but not the rind. I never seen a cheese with except brie.

Sure! You may be buying a mass-produced style of parmesan that comes packaged in vacuum-sealed plastic and doesn't have a rind. Stella is a common brand. (Fig. 1) Artisan parmesan comes in big wheels that are stable at room temperature. (Fig. 2) The rind acts as a natural sealant and the cheese doesn't need to be wrapped until it's cut into wedges. The outer layer is dry and a little darker in color. (Fig. 3) After grating or cutting or whatever, you can save the rind and use it to flavor things! (Fig. 4.) 

stella-parmesan-cheese-pre-119247.jpg

imageService.jpg

dj-parm-articleInline.jpg

111013parmrind.jpg

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DaniLouisiana

Ahha! Thank you @ladyamylynn! I have a recipe that calls for one and I'd rather ask here than ask SIL chef and have her think that maybe I'm an idiot. ...

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