Asian Mushroom and Leek Soup
- SERVINGS: 4-6
Chef Susanna Foo's mushroom-packed soup, from Susanna Food Chinese Cuisine in Philadelphia, combines rich coconut milk with spicy ginger and curry. If you can't find lemongrass, substitute 1/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest.
- 1/2 ounce dried shiitake or porcini mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium shallots, minced
- 1 large leek, white and tender green, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
- 4 ounces white mushrooms, stems discarded, caps thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon Madras curry powder
- 6 cups vegetable stock or canned broth
- 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1/2 pound wild mushrooms, preferably chanterelles, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh lemongrass (tender white bulb only)
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh chives
- In a small bowl, cover the dried mushrooms with hot water and let soak until softened, about 30 minutes. Drain and rinse off any grit. Discard the stems and thinly slice the mushrooms if necessary.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 minutes. Add the leek, white and dried mushrooms, ginger and curry powder and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in the vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.
- In a bowl, blend the cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water until smooth. Stir the paste into the soup and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the soup for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a medium skillet. Add the wild mushrooms and sauté over high heat until softened, about 2 minutes. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.
- Divide the sautéed mushrooms among 4 to 6 soup bowls. Stir the lemongrass and lemon juice into the soup. Ladle the soup into the bowls and garnish with the chopped chives.
The aromatic pungency of leeks and mushrooms finds a harmonious echo in Pinot Noir. Serve a light-bodied example from California on the cool side to contrast with the warm soup.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.