I try to get to the farmer's market every Saturday morning. There is this guy there whose stall is always piled high with all these crazy looking mushrooms. I usually saunter over and have a bit of a gas bag, for no other reason than the fact that I like to tick the box on getting some face time in with the Fungi Man. I often walk away with maybe a handful of white buttons or perhaps some Swiss browns, without delving too far into the array of exotics he has on offer. This was primarily because I had no idea what to do with them...until it dawned on me that I could chuck them in a soup and not have to worry about the optimal cooking method for each variety. So, this past Saturday I got Mr. Mushroom to pack me a brown bag full of a little bit of everything and thus spawned this creamy and delicious mushroom soup.
(I actually don't know how many mushrooms I had, or the weight of the bag, but it shouldn't really matter... just try to mix it up if you can)
Mushrooms, chopped - I used Swiss browns, shiitake, porcini, oyster, 1 portobello, and a few dried *reishi mushrooms
2 tbsp coconut oil
3 leeks, white and green parts only, chopped
1 yellow onion, diced
2 garlic gloves, minced
1 tsp fresh thyme
4 cups chicken stock, or vegetable stock
parsley for serving
What to do:
*if you are using dried reishi mushrooms, soak them in 1/2 cup of boiling water for at least 10 minutes (otherwise you could have soaked them overnight). You will be using the medicinal 'reishi tea' in the recipe but not the soaked mushrooms themselves.
Heat the coconut oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the leeks, onion, garlic, thyme and salt and sautee for about 10 minutes until softened.
Add the assorted mushrooms and stir in with the leek mixture for about 5 minutes, or until the mushrooms get soft and moist. Add the chicken stock, plus the water you used to soak the reishi, and turn the heat up to high. Once the soup comes to a boil, turn down to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes.
Once it cools a little, puree the soup in a blender, or use a bar mix. Serve with parsley and a generous grind of black pepper. If you want to up the ante on presentation, saute a couple of mushrooms in a pan and pop them on top. Done!
This was yet another quick and easy soup dinner. You probably wouldn't even need to puree it if you couldn't be bothered, but then you'd lose the creamy texture which is so comforting in winter. This soup was so scrumptious, it was hard to believe there wasn't any cream added. And I felt so magical afterwards, it was hard to believe there were any boomers sneaked in there either ;)
So why do we want to eat mushrooms?
They are chock full of vitamins and minerals, namely Selenium, Iron and the B vitamins. Also awesome is the fact that mushrooms are the only fruit or vegetable source of vitamin D which many of us do not get enough of from the sun. Mushrooms are a great source of antioxidants and have been shown to enhance our body's immunity. I'd like to put the spotlight on reishi mushrooms which are heralded as a kick ass superfood. These medicinal mushrooms are high in polysaccharides and immune enhancing components, and can be remembered as the super anti- 'shroom because of the following properties: anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal. How good is that? They can be found in the health food store in dried form, which you can use to make tea or add to soups, or in capsules and extracts. Good luck!