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Saturday, January 14, 2012

Leek Shiitake Soup


This mushroom soup is great for cold and flu season.

Mushrooms have been revered as both food and medicine for thousands of years in Asian countries. As powerful modulators of the immune system, they play an important role in protecting the body against pathogenic microbes and abnormal cells. In Japan and China, shiitake mushrooms are used to cure the common cold and increase energy.

I used fresh thyme and oregano in this recipe, but you can use any herbs you like. If you don't have  fresh herbs, use dried herbs instead. Substitute one teaspoon of dried herbs for each tablespoon of fresh herbs.

2 portobello mushrooms, caps wiped clean
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
Ground peppercorn
7 large shiitake mushrooms, caps wiped clean
3 medium leeks, halved, cleaned and thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated, crushed or minced
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1 tbsp fresh oregano
4 cups beef, vegetable or mushroom broth

Pre-heat the broiler. Place the portobellos on a baking tray, gill-side up. Drizzle them with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and ground peppercorn. Broil until the mushrooms are browned and the gills are crispy, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once cool, dice them into 1-centimeter pieces.

Cut off the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and save them for soup stock. Thinly slice the caps.

Add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil to a soup pot over medium heat. Add the sliced leeks and shiitakes and saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and add the garlic. Stir until the garlic becomes aromatic, about 30 to 60 seconds. Do not burn the garlic.

Add the broth, raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

Stir in the fresh herbs and taste for seasoning. Adjust if necessary and serve immediately.

If making in advance, cool to room temperature. Transfer it to the fridge within 2 hours and gently re-heat it when ready to eat.

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