It seems that everybody has a cookbook or a favorite weeknight recipe that makes use of the Cream of Mushroom/Celery/Broccoli condensed soup in a can. These “soups” are very popular in casserole recipes and other weeknight favorites. However, have you ever stopped and read the ingredients before adding it to your recipe? We did and counted a total of 24 ingredients. Many of them I had no idea what they were. Seriously, no idea. Here is a snapshot of the ingredients label of the one we picked up in the store: I know its not that easy to read (I was squinting myself-there might be a reason the type is so small) but I do not know what the majority of this stuff is. I did recognize the MSG (never something I want to cook with) and lots of ingredients with the word dehydrated before them. Some of them did not even sound like food, such as the humble sounding “Acetoin Powder” (sarcasm injected).
I know some of you might be saying “but I buy the healthy version or the organic version!”. That’s great and I am sure that is much much better. However, you really do not need to buy anything ready made at all to get a creamy flavorful sauce to cook with. We are going to tell you a big secret….making it yourself is incredibly easy and costs pennies. All you need is 4 simple ingredients you most likely have in your kitchen right now. Here are the only ingredients we use in our sauce: All it takes is a bit of butter, some chicken broth (or vegetable broth if you prefer), some milk (we use skim or low fat in ours), and a bit of flour. Season with some fresh ground pepper and sea salt, and you have a delicious sauce to use in so many of your recipes. If you need cream of mushroom, add fresh mushrooms (no dehydrated version here). If you are making cream of celery, use fresh chopped celery, cream of broccoli, fresh chopped broccoli. Make it what you need it to be. The exact recipe is this:
Our Easy “Cream of Yuck” to “Cream of Yum” Substitute:
2 tbsp of butter
1/4 cup of flour
1 cup of low fat milk
1 cup of chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
Melt butter in small saucepan. Add flour to make a paste. Slowly add the broth and milk and stir over medium heat until smooth. If using mushrooms, or celery, broccoli etc, add the veggies to the pan. Continue to heat and stir for 3 to 5 minutes until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and use in favorite recipe. Note: you can adjust the sauce to be thinner (reduce flour to 1 tbsp) or thicker by simply adding a bit more flour.
So next time you feel compelled to grab that can in your pantry or off the store shelves, remember you can do it yourself in 5 minutes. No mystery ingredients involved.