Friday, November 11, 2011

Sherried Mushroom Soup

This soup has concentrated flavor, hence the small portion size; a little goes a long way.  It makes a perfect first course, or component of a larger fall-themed dinner.

For the broth:
  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 pound coarsely chopped shallots
  • 10 and 1/2 cups vegan chicken broth (prepared from Not Chick'n bouillon)
  • 2 ounces dried porcini mushrooms
For the remaining ingredients:
  • 2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
  • 3/4 cup dry sherry*
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1. To make the broth, melt the butter in a Dutch oven over medium heat.  Add the thyme and shallots; cook for 10 minutes, until the shallots are golden brown.  Yes, it's a lot of shallots, but you're never going to actually eat them; as you will see, they get strained out in the next step, after infusing the broth with their scent and flavor.

2. Add the chicken broth and the porcini mushrooms; bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour, uncovered. Strain the mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard the solids.

Note: prepare the mushroom broth up to 4 days ahead at this point, and refrigerate.  Because you can make so much of this recipe ahead of time, it's ideally suited to a busy day (Thanksgiving perhaps?) in the kitchen.

3. Return the broth to the pan, and stir in the shiitake mushrooms and sherry.  Cook for 10 minutes over low heat.  Stir in the chives, and serve immediately.

I paired the soup with sweet potatoes, green beans tossed with pine nuts, and Tofurky slices. It would probably also taste great alongside any of the holiday vegan roasts on the shelves this time of year. 

*I couldn't make this dish without my favorite vegan sherry - well, actually, the only vegan sherry I know of.  It's the unfiltered Fino en Rama from Alvear, available at Astor Wines.

Nutrition Info:
12 servings (about 1/2 cup), Calories 52 

Tasting Notes:
This is an elegant little bowl of soup, perfect for company.  The wonderfully rich notes of porcini mushroom and sherry made this broth the closest thing to a French onion soup I've had since going veg - feel free to play around and use it for that purpose instead.  Although I know the soup was meant to be mostly broth with a few bits of shiitake floating around, I did wish there was more going on, hence my slightly lower overall rating of the soup. Next time I would stir in slivers of other vegetables, or perhaps cubed tofu.


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