Today is very gloomy and rainy here on Jeju. It’s days like these when I want to curl up with a hot bowl of soup, a movie, and a kitty. I don’t have a kitty but I cannot wait to get one (or two!) as soon as Chris and I move somewhere more permanent.
I’ve always been a huge fan of mushrooms. It’s funny because when I was little, to eat mushrooms we first had to go and pick them. Oh yes, traditional Russian style with a basket, rain boots, and everything. We would spend hours looking for mushrooms in some forest after an October rainfall, cut them at the base (don’t rip them out, so they can grow back next year, I was told), then soak them for hours to see if they turn blue. Turning blue would mean that they are poisonous. The mushrooms never turned blue for us but can you imagine the disappointment one would feel if, after spending hours and hours picking mushrooms, all of them would turn out to be bad…..?Then my mom would make delicious mushroom soup. I loved the soup, but but hated the whole process of walking around and picking mushrooms. My brother, on the other hand, couldn’t get enough of it.
Of course, now I’d love nothing more than to go mushroom picking with my brother while breathing that after-rain forest smell. Ah!!
I took my mom’s classic soup and turned it into a vegan mushroom soup.
2 c chopped mushrooms ( Do not use button mushrooms – they have no taste)
1/2 c chopped onion
1 large potato, chopped into cubes
1 can of coconut milk
3 10 cm long sprigs of fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp dry sage
1 bay leaf
1 dash of nutmeg
salt and black pepper to taste
1. Heat some oil in a frying pan and cook the onions until they start to brown.
2. Add the rosemary, salt, black pepper, and chopped mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are browned as well. Try not to crowd the mushrooms for maximum browning.
3. Transfer the mushroom/onion mixture into a pot. Add coconut milk and enough water to cover.
4. Add the chopped potato, cook for 5 minutes.
5. Bring the soup to a boil and simmer on very low heat for 10-15 minutes, or until thickened. The potato will release some starch and help thicken the soup a little bit.
6. Add the nutmeg, turn off the heat, and cover. Let the soup sit and develop flavors for 30 minutes or longer.
The flavors of this soup are superb! First, you taste the rosemary, followed by a deeper sage flavor. The nutmeg becomes a nice aftertaste on the tongue, followed by the slight spice of black pepper. What a perfect soup for a grey fall day! Mushrooms are full of Vitamin D (produced after exposure to sun, just like our skin) which keeps us and our immune system happy. They are also full of potassium, which is essential for a properly-functioning nervous system and muscles. Most importantly, mushrooms are a great source of niacin (Vitamin B3) and antioxidants. Enjoy this soup with all the health benefits!
L and l,