Yesterday I had a hankering for mushroom soup, one of my favs. Here's how I went about making it. David's Cream of Mushroom soup 1 qt chicken stock* 1. qt. milk 1 onion, finely chopped 1 potato, diced 2 oz. side meat, finely chopped ** (optional) 3 tbsp. flour 5 cups sliced mushrooms 1 4 oz. stick butter ½ tsp. thyme ¾ cup half-and-half salt and pepper to taste 2 oz. Dry Sherry (optional) Heat chicken stock to low boil. While this is heating, add butter, side meat, onion and potato to a large pan and sauté on high until the onion just softens. Add the flour and stir until the mixture becomes smooth, making a filled roux. Pour this mixture into the broth pot, deglazing the pan with a ladle of broth to get all the clingy pan bits. Add the mushrooms and thyme, stir the ingredients as they cook on lowest boil until everything just thickens. Then, add the milk and reduce heat to very low until the potato cooks through, about 15 minutes. Do not boil and stir occasionally. To finish, taste and add salt and pepper to your liking, then add the half and half. Add the sherry now, too, if it is to your liking. Remove from heat and serve immediately with a pinch of finely mined parsley on top of each bowlful. It's good with a nice salad and some crusty bread, French style crouton or Italian crostini. NOTE: This is a rich soup and 'taint for those on a diet. This stuff is for living and loving life! * This is really about the chicken stock. In fact, EVERY soup is about the stock. To make it, I take what ever chicken is available and deeply brown it in a stock pot or deep pan. This gives more flavor and a darker richer color to the stock. Yesterday, I used three big thighs. Then I add onion, a clove ot two of chopped garlic, carrot and/or any veggies that need using up, some salt and pepper and cover everything with water. Bring to boil, let simmer on very low for an hour or two. When done, let it cool, remove the chicken pieces and strain the aromatics, leaving a clear broth. I use the broth for cooking and the de-boned, de-skinned chicken for chicken salad, etc. ** This is really just dry cured pork. Here in the South it goes by many names, like side meat, pork belly, breakfast ham, Virginia Ham, etc. Well rinsed salt pork would also work, although I've not used it for this. You could eliminate most, if not all, additional salt by using it. I dont use sugar cured/smoked bacon, however, as I dont want the hickory sweetness it brings.