On Mushroom Soup and Neil Diamond

As so eloquently put by Bob Wiley (What About Bob) :
"There are two types of people in the world: those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't."
I feel the same way about mushroom soup. On which side of the spectrum to I fall? I love mushroom soup (for the record, I love Neil Diamond too)!
Condensed mushroom soup was a staple in our house growing up - with chicken and rice, pork chops, and the ubiquitous tuna noodle casserole. Though it is widely pooh-poohed, I still fall back on it once and a while. What can I say? Its comfort food.
Today I was in the fridge and realized I had a huge container of crimini (baby portobello) mushrooms from Costco that were looking pretty bleak. So I decided to use them up in homemade mushroom soup. I've never even tried to make it before, and I must say, I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.

Mushroom Soup

3 T olive oil
1 T unsalted butter
1 lb mushrooms, wiped clean and chopped (I would stick with crimini or a wild variety over button)
1/2 cup sweet onion or shallot
3 T dry sherry (don't skip the sherry - also use it for this amazing recipe)
5 T Flour
1 t thyme
4 cups chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

Heat the oil and butter at medium heat in a deep pot - add the mushrooms and onions, saute for about five minutes. Reduce the heat and the flour, sherry and thyme, cook for another five minutes to cook out the floury taste - scrape the bottom of the pot periodically. Add the broth, salt and pepper, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes - the soup will start to thicken.

If you want cream of mushroom soup, add 1/2 cup of heavy cream (I actually used condensed milk because I had it on hand). Adjust seasonings - i.e. add more salt and pepper - and bring to a simmer.

Even if you don't care for condensed cream of mushroom, you might actually enjoy this soup. It's very earthy with the criminis and the thyme.

As for the Neil Diamond...well, I don't know if I can help you there.

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