Warm up this winter with Padma Lakshmi's Rustic and Wild Mushroom Soup recipe—a standout from the gastronone's Tangy, Tart, Hot & Sweet cookbook.
"When I was living in Italy, one of the great kitchen secrets I learned was to save the rinds of Parmesan cheese for soup. Most Italian cooks add an old Parmesan rind to give flavor to their minestrones and stews. What's even better is that the flavor it adds is unique—it cannot be duplicated any other way. I add it here to give body to this wonderful peasant soup of mushrooms, which is great served just with some fresh, hot, crusty bread and cheese as a lovely autumn lunch. You can add any variety of mushrooms you find at the produce market. It's the variety of the mushrooms that enhances the taste of this rustic soup."
A RUSTIC AND WILD MUSHROOM SOUP
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut lengthwise
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 pound white mushrooms, diced
1/2 pound portobello mushrooms, diced
1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, diced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, diced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 ounce dried chanterelle mushrooms
6 cups chicken stock
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced, about 1 1/2 cups
1/4 cup snipped chives
Rind of Parmesan cheese (approximately 2 1/2 by 4 inches)
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. In a large pot over medium heat, heat the butter and oil. As the butter is melting, stir in the garlic and bay leaves. After 2 to 3 minutes, add the onions and sauté for a few minutes until the onions soften and become glassy. Add all the fresh mushrooms, along with the crushed red pepper and thyme. Cover the pot and let the mushrooms cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 12 minutes.
2. While the mushrooms are cooking, soak the dried chanterelle mushrooms for 10 minutes in very hot water that has come to the boil. Remove the mushrooms from the liquid, reserving the soaking water. Dice the chanterelles, and add them to the soup along with the soaking water.
3. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, chives, and cheese rind. Allow the soup to cook for 35 to 40 minutes more.
4. When ready, remove the bay leaves and cheese rind. Stir in the parsley and adjust salt to taste. Serve hot. SERVES 6-8.
This and other recipes can be found in Padma Lakshmi's Tangy Tart Hot and Sweet: A World of Recipes for Every Day published by Hachette Go.