Achieving Balance in the New Year: Mushroom Soup with Greens

Mushroom Soup

Mushroom Soup with Greens

I will be honest with you.  I struggle to find balance  – among work, graduate school and home life – between travel and rest – between my dietetics undergraduate training and my ill-acquired grownup habits.   It is a continual process, one which forces me to look forward and strive to improve each day.  I’ll take the struggle over complacency.

While trying to improve the foods my family cooks and eats together, I found this unusual Mushroom Soup in Jean-Georges:  Cooking at Home with a Four-Star Chef.    I am constantly on the prowl for a creative spark to jump-start a cooking session – and this cookbook has done wonders for my culinary prowess.  See the Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives and Cilantro + Chive Oil recipes on this blog as evidence.

The soup, along with other recipes in the cookbook, achieves a harmonious balance of colors, textures and flavors.  What better way to usher in the new year?

Mushroom Soup before adding broth

Mushroom Soup with Greens before adding broth

I started the soup by making a rich mushroom ‘broth’ on a Sunday.  Then, I assembled the actual soup for dinner on a Monday night.  The final brief cooking &  ‘assembly’ went quickly.  It is not until all the ingredients come together at the last minute that you will agree with me and go “ahhhh, this WILL be delicious!”

Ingredients for Mushroom Soup (note, the broth is in the bowl and was made ahead of time)

Ingredients for Mushroom Soup (note, the broth is in the bowl and was made ahead of time)

Mushroom Soup with Greens
Recipe from cookbook Jean-Georges: Cooking at Home with a Four Star Chef

For the broth:
2 lbs button mushrooms, rinsed & coarsely chopped
4 oz shiitake mushrooms
4 T. unsalted butter
sea salt
4-6 shallots, roughly chopped (~1 c.)
6 garlic cloves, smashed (ok to leave skins on)
4 thyme sprigs

For the final soup:
2 T. minced shallots
1/2 c. fresh or frozen and thawed peas (Optional – I did not use)
2 tsp. walnut or hazelnut oil
2 T. soy sauce
freshly cracked black pepper
1 T. port
2 c. mixed salad greens
2 T. toasted breadcrumbs (I used Panko)

1.  Heat a deep skillet over high heat and add butter, chopped button mushrooms and a tiny bit of sea salt.  When mushrooms release their juices, add shallots (chopped), garlic & thyme.  Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, 5-10 minutes, or until mushrooms are brown.  Add 6 c. water.  Keep heat at medium-high to high and cook at a steady boil for 30 minutes, until reduced by half.

2.  Pour mixture through a strainer, pressing on mushroom mixture to release all juices.  Keep broth warm.  (Broth can be made up to 2 days ahead of time in a covered container:  Cool broth by putting strained broth on top of an ice pack or nest in a larger bowl filled with ice cubes, then transfer to the refrigerator).

3.  While broth is cooking, place 2 T. butter in a skillet, turn heat to high and add minced shallot and shiitake caps.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.  (Optional:  If using, add peas and cook for 1 minute at this time).  Turn off the heat and stir in walnut oil and 1 T. soy sauce.

4.  If needed, reheat broth.  Season with remaining 1 T soy sauce, cracked black pepper and port.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

5.  Place greens in individual bowls and spook shiitake mixture over them.  Add bread crumbs.  Pour soup over ingredients in the bowls and serve warm.



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