Paleo Cream of Mushroom Soup with Bacon and Leeks (yup, dairy free!)

Confession: I love mushrooms so much that it takes a lot of self control not to eat them all while I'm chopping them. 

Somehow, enough mushrooms actually ended up in the soup pot for this "cream-of" soup to become Cream of Mushroom Soup. You know that saying "good things come to those that wait"? Yea. Good things come to those that wait. 

See, while the mushrooms sit on the cutting board, they're foamy little bites with earthy flavors that are (IMO) extraordinarily fun to eat. But once they've been seared, seasoned, and drowned in a creamy broth, they become savory, meaty and rich. 

Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup blows the canned stuff out of the water, and not just in flavor and style. It is actually truly nourishing with whole ingredients, healing broth, and no mystery additives. Besides, this homemade version comes with bacon, and you can't beat that. Walking the line between creamy and gravy, this soup sticks to your bones. Each creamy bite is infused with the flavors of fresh herbs, leeks, and mushrooms. Little bits of bacon give your something to go searching for. An empty bowl begs to be licked clean. 

Who invented the canned stuff anyways? No offense, but they were totally off the mark.  

 

Cream of Mushroom Soup with Bacon and Leeks

3 slices bacon

1 small leek

2 cloves garlic

1/2 medium white onion

20 ounces mushrooms, crimini or baby portobellos

2 tablespoons dry peppery red wine (such as Zinfandel or Pinot)

2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

1 1/2 cups bone broth

1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon rosemary, fresh, minced

1 tablespoon thyme, fresh, minced

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Salt to taste

2 tablespoons chives, fresh, minced

 

Chop the bacon into bite-sized bits. Toss the pieces in the bottom of a soup pot over medium heat. Stir the bacon occasionally as it bacon cooks. Meanwhile, prepared the vegetables: remove the green parts of the leek and chop the white parts into thin slices. Mince the garlic, and finely dice the onion. Wash and slice the mushrooms. 

When the bacon is crispy, use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon pieces from the pot (leaving the grease). Set the bacon bits aside for later. Add the leek slices to the hot pot, cooking them until just browning. Use a slotted spoon to remove about a quarter or the leeks, to use for garnishing later. Leave the rest of the leeks in the pot, and add the onion, garlic, and mushrooms. (Tip: To get a good sear on the mushrooms, it's important to have plenty of oil in the pan. If you pan seems a bit dry, add about a tablespoon of coconut oil before adding the mushrooms. It will depend on your bacon). Stir the vegetables occasionally, allowing them to sear and cook through.

Pour in the wine, scraping the bottom of the pot as you do. When the vegetables start look soft, add the arrowroot powder. Sprinkle it evenly over the vegetables, and then still once or twice, just until the powder is well distributed. 

Add the bone broth and the coconut milk. Stir briefly to ensure no clumps of arrowroot form. Bring the soup to a simmer. Add the rosemary and thyme to the soup along with salt and pepper. 

Allow the soup to simmer, covered, for 15-20 minutes. This will allow the broth to thicken and the flavors to blend. Ladle warm soup into bowl and top with a sprinkle of reserved leeks, bacons bits, and minced chives. 

Yield: about 6 cups.