Herbed shitake and oyster mushroom soup
POSTED ON December 12, 2015
For as long as I can remember, I’ve gone into the holidays planning to keep things simple, but as you may imagine that becomes increasingly challenging as December progresses. When the month begins, I feel a sense of calm and am slightly removed from the buzz that is generating. Even as the city becomes more and more adored with lights, greenery and sparkles, I think to myself: I’m not going to get crazy and caught up in it all–and I try to go to yoga more.
But just this week something happened and, as it always does, the festive bug got to me. Walking around the farmers market, I suddenly found myself lusting over trees and fragrant wreaths with foraged branches, rose hips and juniper. I’ve even started to think of my very small collection of vintage decorations and wondering where I put my strings of teeny lights! Even though I’ve not (yet) been baking or searching out gifts, I feel the intensity of the season with all the engagements and sugary treats that in turn make me crave simple, soothing meals. With recipes for holiday cookies all over the place, I feel pressure to post something festive that you could serve at a party; ultimately though, I’m not bursting to make another sweet creation and so the idea for this soup came about. It is both nourishing and comforting, yet once its topped with the garnishes it’s fancy enough to serve at a holiday dinner—and easy to make just in case you’re feeling a wee bit stretched or stressed.
Wishing you a calm holiday season!
Shitake and oyster mushroom soup
Mushroom soups can result in a grey color which is not that festive or appealing; for this reason I add a little turmeric to give it a warmer glow.
This soup is also delicious simmered with a couple of sprigs of rosemary—tie them in a piece of cheesecloth or place in a reusable tea bag and remove after mushrooms are cooked. It also tastes delicious with leeks added after cooking the shallots—use white parts only as the greens will color the soup.
One last note: Choose smaller oyster mushrooms as the larger, thicker ones can take a long time to cook.
Serves 6 generous portions (makes 11 cups)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 large shallots, sliced
½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 to 3 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
¾ pound fresh shitake mushroom, stemmed and chopped
1 ½ pounds fresh oyster mushrooms, chopped
4 bay leaves
1/3 teaspoon turmeric
5 cups filtered water, plus more when blending
2 teaspoons tamari, plus more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
½ cup walnuts
½ pound shitake mushrooms, stems removed and thinly sliced
½ pound oyster mushrooms, sliced in about 1/3 inch slices
8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup small fresh whole sage leaves
Coarsely ground black pepper
Sprigs of fresh thyme
Make the soup:
Warm oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add shallots and sauté for 5 minutes or until lightly browning. Add salt and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Stir in thyme and sage and then add mushrooms. (I stir them in as I chop them, so they wilt and make space). Add bay leaves and water and bring to a boil over nigh heat. Cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 18 to 20 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove from heat and remove bay leaves. Carefully blend in batches in an upright blender until completely smooth and velvety. This takes a couple of minutes. You will need to add more water to get it to blend well add ½ cup at a time until you achieve your desired consistency. Soup should be thick and creamy.
Return to pot and still in tamari, salt and pepper to taste.
Make the garnish:
Preheat oven to 300 degrease Fahrenheit. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and add walnuts. Toast nuts for 6 minutes and remove from oven. Slide nuts off parchment paper and onto a chopping board. Replace paper on tray and add sliced mushrooms and sage leaves. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons olive oil and a pinch of salt. Gently toss to combine and spread out over tray. Roast for 15 minutes, stir and return to oven for another 5 to 8 minutes or until mushrooms are browning and sage leaves are crisp. While mushrooms roast, finely chop walnuts and place in a small bowl. Add remaining olive oil and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine and set aside until ready to serve.
Warm soup and ladle into bowls. Dot with toasted walnut mixture and a pinch of roasted mushrooms and sage leaves, a few thyme sprigs and blacked peppe