May 20, 2009

Pea and Mushroom Soup

Pea and Mushroom Soup with Chicken

When mushrooms have been sitting around a day or two longer than they really should, or you find a sale on dried mushrooms, make some mushroom stock. Then, when you need an umami-filled light lunch or quick soup, you'll have a great base to build upon.

I had more shiitake mushrooms than I could use, and they were starting to dry out, so I cut them into large chunks and put them into a small sauce pan with some filtered water. After they'd simmered for an hour, I added more filtered water and some porcini powder, then let the pot simmer another 30 minutes. After letting it cool a bit, I strained it, pressing as much liquid as possible out of the mushrooms. The result was a very rich mushroom stock with a nice dark brown color. A stock like this will last for 3 days in the refrigerator or a month in the freezer.

To make this soup, I cut some crimini mushrooms into thick slices and lightly sautéed them with a some butter and extra virgin olive oil; leave out the butter for a dairy-free soup. I added some chunks of grilled chicken, but it would have been an excellent vegan soup without the chicken.

I added mushroom stock to the fry pan and let the chicken warm up for about 3 minutes. Then I poured everything into a bowl.

Next, I added a bit of canola oil to the fry pan and quickly fried some cooked soba noodles--make sure you use 100% buckwheat soba noodles to make this gluten-free. Once the noodles began sticking to the pan, I poured the mushrooms, chicken, and stock into the fry pan to deglaze, added whole sugar snap peas, and grabbed some bowls. After about two minutes it was ready to serve. Total time, start to finish, was about 15 minutes.

Such a short cooking time means the peas were still crunchy, a great contrast with the mushrooms. The umami-rich mushroom stock made this a very satisfying meal.

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