I decided I wanted a veggie week - so I went back to basics - Ruth Tal Brown & Jennifer Houton's "Fresh at home" - based on recipes from their restaurants (in Toronto - whether you're a vegetarian or a carnivore... well worth trying)... I used to make their mushroom soup - but wanted to try something a little different.
I pulled out their recipe for Mushroom Stroganoff Soup and decided instead of using button mushrooms I'd use some portobello and oyster mushrooms... that and some of the Ripassa wine I had opened over the weekend were really the inspiration behind my changes to this recipe - oh yeah, and the fact that I didn't have the spices they recommended in their recipe... in the end, this is a rich, thick soup with a spicy kick.
My Mushroom Soup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
4 1/2 c. mushrooms, sliced (I used 4 portobello mushrooms, removed the stalks and oyster mushrooms)
1/3 c. red wine (I used my 2006 Ripassa...full bodied - for this recipe go bold)
2 tsp. Indian fennel seeds, whole (a gift from my mother's last trip to India)
1 1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds, whole
pinch of sea salt
2 tsp. cayenne pepper (use your discretion... I like things hot, but cayenne gets stronger as it sits)
4 c. chicken stock (but beef or veggie would work fine too)
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 eggplant, peeled and diced
1 sweet potato, diced (I leave the skin on...it's full of nutrients)
2 tbsp brown rice flour (any flour will do)
1/3 c. cold water
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic - cook until they're slightly browned. Add the mixed mushrooms and cook until brown as well. Add the red wine and allow it to simmer and reduce to about half. Now toss in the spices, tomato paste, stock, peppers, eggplant and potato. Bring the entire thing to a boil.
Once it's boiling, allow it to simmer about 15 minutes - you really just want to make sure that the veggies all cook (make sure that you have chopped your veggies about the same size - equal size = equal cooking time).
While the soup is simmering away make your thickening paste. Add the water to the flour and stir to combine (it'll become a paste). Now you'll temper it (yep, I actually did that for the first time ever)... add 2 tbsp of the soup broth into your paste and whisk it together, adding more of the broth 2 tbsp at a time until the paste is the same consistency as the soup (it took me 6 tbsp's to get it tempered). Dump the paste into the pot and give the soup a good stir. Bring the soup back up to a boil and cook for another 2 minutes.
That's it. Super simple. If you're a mushroom lover - blend whatever types you like. And play around with the spices if my choices don't interest you - the original recipe called for caraway seeds and paprika. Make what you like - but I hope you like this as much as I do!