Let me tell you about the hardest part of living in a different country.
After eight years of living in the US, there is still one thing that I have not, can not, will never, get over: It is not being able to spend as much time as I want with my sisters. Not spending time with my sisters means not being able to experience things with them. Like not being able to share a slice of cheesecake. Not being able to make avocado shakes together. Not huddling together in the back seat of a car, with inconspicuous tickles.
It means enjoying mushroom soup by myself, even though I know that it would be so much more enjoyable if my two sisters, the apples of my eye, were eating it, too.
We all like mushroom soup. From Campbell’s cream of mushroom to the fancy bowls at our favorite Italian restaurant in the Philippines, it’s something that the three of us never say no to whenever a bowl is set in front of us. So when I eat mushroom soup in the US, thousands of miles away from my sisters, I think of them and I miss them.
I know, it’s a life I chose. And mostly, usually, tremendously, it’s a life I am so grateful for. But in spite of my idyllic work and daily activities and vacations and love fests, there are days where I miss my two sisters so palpably that I wish there really was some sort of magic travel machine that I could hop on and then I would be home with them in the Philippines, instantly. And then the three of us can all eat mushroom soup together.
But alas, that magic travel machine doesn’t exist, so I will have to wait two more months until I see their sweet faces again when I go home for the holidays. In the meantime, there’s FaceTime and Skype. And there’s mushroom soup. Mushroom soup that’s meant to be shared, but even when eaten alone, is comfort enough.
The original recipe for this soup included pureed potatoes but I decided to substitute cannellini beans instead. I like the added protein and I know that it would still blend into a creamy consistency. This is a pretty healthy recipe, too; there’s milk instead of cream, Greek yogurt instead of sour cream, and white beans instead of white potatoes.
Creamy Mushroom Soup
(adapted from Rachael Ray’s Cream of Mushroom Soup recipe)
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 1/2 pounds assorted mushrooms, chopped (I used baby bella and white mushrooms)
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup chopped chives
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans
3 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cups 2 percent milk
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
In a large saucepan or pot (I used a dutch oven), melt 1 piece butter over medium-high heat. Add one-third of the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a bowl. Repeat in 2 batches with 2 more pieces of butter and the remaining mushrooms.
*It’s important to brown the mushroom properly – in batches – because this will lend a deep, earthy quality to the soup.
Add the remaining 1 piece butter, the onion and all but 2 tablespoons of the chives to the pot and cook, stirring, until golden-brown and tender, about 7 minutes. Return the mushrooms to the pot, add the drained cannellini beans, vegetable broth and 1 cup water and cook for 10 minutes.
Using a blender, puree the soup and transfer to dutch oven. Stir in the milk and season with salt. Heat through over medium heat. To serve, top with the yogurt and reserved chives.
Do you have a certain food that reminds you of your siblings?