Soup Redux

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It’s soup season! Kalyani at Sizzling Tastebuds hosts a monthly event called Kitchen Chronicles; this month Nupur at UK Rasoi is hosting and she has chosen the theme Soup It Up! I’m reposting a couple of my favorite soups from my archives for her event. Be sure to check out the roundup at the end of the month on Nupur’s blog for a load of wonderful soup recipes.
The Best Mushroom Soup
This is probably the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had. It is definitely the best I’ve ever made.  It takes a little bit of time because of the broth that you make first, but the broth can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or frozen. The finished soup freezes, too. Both recipes are adapted from Vegetable Soups from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen.
The Best Mushroom Broth
I use 2 whole ounces of dried mushrooms in this, which can be expensive. I found an 8 ounce container of mixed dried mushrooms for less than $20 at Costco, but if affordable ones aren’t available to you, use 3/4 ounce dried (preferably using both porcinis and shiitakes) and 8 ounces of chopped fresh button mushrooms added to the pot at the same time as the onions.
Since the broth is strained, you can chop the vegetables in big pieces,and include washed onion peels and celery leaves. Also, since you don’t have to bother peeling the garlic, this is a great way to use those skinny cloves from the middle of the bulb-just use more of them if they’re tiny.
2 ounces mixed dried mushrooms, including some shiitakes and porcinis
6 cups boiling water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large carrots, roughly chopped
2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, cut in half
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 sprig rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 cups dry red wine
1-2 tablespoons miso, red if you have it
Soak the mushrooms in the boiling water while you prepare the rest of the broth.
Heat the oil in a large pot. Sauté the onion, carrots, celery until soft and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary and salt and pepper and sauté for another minute or two. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the red wine and bring to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, scraping the bottom of the pot to incorporate the browned vegetable bits.
Add the mushrooms and their soaking liquid. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain vegetables from broth and discard. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon miso into a half-cup or so of hot broth and then stir into the rest of the broth. Taste and add more miso if you like.
This should make 4 cups, just enough for the soup, but I always end up with more. The extra freezes well and is great in risotto and veggie loaf. Or you could just make more mushroom soup.
The Best Mushroom Soup
8 ounces button mushrooms
8 ounces cremini mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup minced shallot or onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 cups of The Best Mushroom Broth, above
1 cup bread crumbs from about 2 slices bread
1/2 cup non-dairy creamer (plain) or milk
Reserve 4 or 5 of the smaller, shapelier mushrooms and chop the rest finely. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Sauté the shallot and mushrooms until they are tender and mushrooms are releasing their liquid. Add garlic and salt and sauté another minute. Add the bread and mushroom broth and simmer, covered, for about 10 minutes. Stir in creamer.
Divide the soup into 4 bowls. Thinly slice the reserved mushrooms and use them to garnish the soup.
Creamy Tomato Basil Soup

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, preferrably imported from Italy
1 14.5-ounce can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (or some of these tomatoes, if you have them)
1/3 to 1/2 cup minced basil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup non-dairy creamer or milk*
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and cook until very soft, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and cook another minute.

Add all the tomatoes, the basil, and the vinegar. Bring to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add baking soda and watch the chemical reaction. Stir in the creamer or milk and add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a blender and purée, or use an immersion blender. Heat through and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

*I use Better than Milk soymilk powder and mix it double strength.

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