This rich, delicious recipe for maitake mushroom soup is layered with complex flavors. An optional splash of cognac gives a wonderfully flavorful nod to French cooking. Maitake and shiitake mushrooms are known for their medicinal value. It is believed that they strengthen the heart, improve immunity, and assist the body’s detoxification process. They are also purported to possess anti-cancer properties. One thing I can promise you: regardless of its medicinal value, this soup is superb.
- 4 ounces maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms (chopped)
- 1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms (soaked in 1 cup hot water)
- 1/2 pound assorted fresh mushrooms (preferably creminis mixed with at least 6 ounces shiitakes)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large shallots (chopped)
- 1 small leek (chopped)
- 1 small Vidalia onion (chopped)
- 1 stalk celery (chopped)
- 1 carrot (chopped)
- 1 medium potato (peeled and chopped)
- 4 cups vegetable stock (water or chicken stock)
- 2 tablespoons tamari
- 1 tablespoon cognac (optional)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- Sea salt
Drain the shiitake mushrooms and reserve the liquid. Chop all the mushrooms. Heat oil over medium flame in a soup pot.
Add mushrooms to pot along with shallot, leek, onion, celery, carrot, and potato. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook vegetables, stirring often, until they begin to soften, about ten minutes.
Add soaking liquid from mushrooms, stock, tamari, cognac, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.
Add thyme and rosemary, and puree with a vertical hand blender until smooth.
Season to taste and simmer an additional 5 minutes.
Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients
Steam expands quickly in a blender, and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.