One of my coworkers enjoys foraging for wild mushrooms. The other day, he showed us pictures of some really spectacular mushrooms that he had found. I especially liked the one that was approximately the size of his head. Like any good forager, he was enthusiastic and specific about the mushroom specimens, their characteristics, and their scientific names, but vague about the exact locations where he finds these beauties.
My mushroom foraging takes place at the farmer’s market, or at the Asian produce market. Last week I was making the rounds with my little basket at the crowded produce market, when I came across a bonanza of mushrooms in various plastic boxes. I started bagging regular old white mushrooms, then some mildly gnarled shiitakes. I had to dig around a bit for some chanterelles that were still intact. Then I saw something new—ghostly white mushrooms with upturned caps, labeled “chicken mushrooms”. And in the next bin over, lemongrass. Hmm.
After returning home, a quick check of the internet convinced me that I had fried chicken mushrooms, rather than chicken mushrooms. Either way, a soup recipe was coming together in my mind.
You could use any combination of mushrooms to make this soup, but I do think having several different kinds adds interest and flavor. And the lemongrass is really a must—the scent of this soup is gorgeous enough to draw the neighbors to your kitchen door, and the taste is rich and perfumey and you will want to tip your bowl and scrape the last drops from the bottom.
Mushroom Lemongrass Soup
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup diced onions
- ½ cup diced carrots
- ½ cup diced celery
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups sliced mixed mushrooms (I used shiitake, chanterelles, white mushrooms, and fried chicken mushrooms)
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups chicken stock
- ½ cup white wine
- 1 stalk lemongrass, peeled
- 4 oz pork sausage
Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened—about 5 minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms and sauté for another 1-2 minutes. Add thyme, salt, stock and wine and bring to a gentle boil. Cut lemongrass stalk into several 3-4 inch pieces, then score each piece lightly several times with a knife. Add to soup. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, roll pork sausage into about a dozen tiny meatballs. In a skillet, fry over medium-low heat, until lightly browned. Add meatballs to soup for last 5 minutes of simmering time. Remove lemongrass stalks before serving.