My Season of Soup: Mushroom Soup

The last few weeks I had the pleasure of eating rice noodle soup every morning for breakfast. It isn’t the usual American breakfast. It isn’t the usual breakfast I eat here at home… but when traveling, I am a culinary adventurer and I love nothing more than learning about the local cuisine in the places I visit.  This past trip offered plenty of opportunity to do so.  And I learned that noodles for breakfast rock. The noodle soup, with added greens, fit right in with the way I eat.

2 weeks of noodle soup set the stage for soup season here at home. Since returning,  not breakfast, but every dinner has revolved around soup. Corn Chowder the first night, Veggie Chili the second night, Mushroom Soup the 3rd night, and so on.  You saw the recipe for  Corn Chowder  last post. This post I want to share my Mushroom Soup recipe. The ingredient list looks long, but the soup is not complicated.  As long as you remember to soak the dried mushrooms earlier-for an hour or two-or more, you can wait until close to dinner to prepare the soup.   Leftover soup for lunch will deepen in flavor, but not that much more.

Meanwhile, as you try this recipe, I will be trying to re-create the noodle soup. I haven’t done so yet because it entails a trip across town to the Asian market to gather ingredients. I have been waiting until other errands have stacked up along my route  so I can be more efficient with my time and fuel. This will be the week.

Vegetarian Mushroom Soup

1 oz. dried organic mushroom medley (such as Fungus AmongUs)

1/2 oz. or 1/2 cup dried shiitake mushrooms

3 cups water for the mushroom soak

5-6 cups vegetable broth, off the shelf or your own  (I make mine from scratch. For this soup I use carrot peels, celery tops and stalks, leek, yellow onion and the stems from the fresh mushrooms. If you start with 6 cups of water, you’ll end up with closer to 5 cups of broth by the time it has simmered awhile. Don’t forget to scrub the carrots before peeling.)

2 carrots

1 celery stalk

1/2 large onion, chopped

1/2 cup fresh shiitake mushrooms, washed, stemmed and thinly sliced

1/2 cup fresh crimini mushrooms, washed, stemmed and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon aged barley miso (I use Miso that is aged 3 years)

2-3 tablespoons tamari or to taste

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1&1/2 teaspoons dried dill                                      

1/2 teaspoon sea salt or to taste

Optional 1/4-1/2 cup orzo

An hour or two, or 4, before preparing the soup, soak the dried mushroom medley and the dried shiitake mushrooms in 3 cups water. Set aside.

When you are ready to start the soup, remove the mushrooms from the liquid and reserve half of the medley for another use.  Thinly slice the other half plus the dried shiitake mushrooms and set aside.  Keep the mushroom water for use in the soup.

In your favorite soup pot, over medium heat, water sauté the carrots, celery and onion in 1/2 cup vegetable broth.  After about 5 minutes, while the veggies are still firm and the color has brightened,  put them on a plate and set aside.

With one tablespoon of olive oil, sauté the fresh shiitake and crimini mushrooms on medium low heat.  After a few minutes, add the vegetables back to the pot and mix. Add the vegetable broth along with the water the mushrooms were soaked in.   Turn the heat to medium.  Add the sliced, soaked mushrooms.

Next add the miso paste, tamari, balsamic vinegar and dill. Taste for flavor.  Feel free to add salt and pepper if you need it.  Simmer the soup for about 15 minutes. At this point the soup is ready to serve.*  Garnish with something fresh if desired, such as a sprig of dill or  chopped chives.

*If you want to add the optional orzo, bring the soup to a boil now and add the pasta. Reduce the heat and let the soup simmer until the orzo is done, around 5 minutes.  Serve.

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