North Americans have become mushrooms eaters.
Each of us now consume about four pounds a year, up from only a pound back in the mid 1960's.
And there's a wide variety available to us, including these morsels.
While we don't consume anywhere near the 22 pounds per person per year that the Chinese do, we now have access to mushrooms that most of us had never heard of in the 60's and 70's.
Freshness is easy to spot with any mushroom types.
You want to avoid those with dark spots or that are soft and squishy.
Turn the mushroom over and check to see if the gills are exposed.
The "ring" is the soft covering that joins the edge of the cap to the stem, and if it is not intact and the gills can be seen, the mushroom is past its prime.
This is the best indicator of freshness for all mushrooms.
And by the way, the idea of not rinsing mushrooms because they absorb water, is a myth.
Mushrooms are about 80% water to start with, and numerous published tests have shown that there is no significant amount of water absorbed when mushrooms are washed.
This hearty Italian country soup is full of deep, earthy goodness.
If you like, you can always add or substitute portabello mushrooms to this amazingly wonderful dish.
1 oz. (30 g.) dried Porcini mushrooms
1 1/3 c. boiling water
3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
2 onions, finely chopped
2 celery stalks with leaves, finely chopped
4 oz. (115 g.) Cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tsp. chopped rosemary
1 tsp. chopped thyme
3 c. vegetable stock
one 14.5 oz. (411 g.) can chopped tomatoes, drained
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 c. diced day-old crusty bread
#1 Combine the dried mushrooms and boiling water in a small bowl.
Let stand for 30 minutes.
Drain through a fine sieve, reserving the soaking liquid.
Coarsely chop the soaked mushrooms.
# 2 Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-low heat.
Add the onions and cook about 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the celery and cook 5 minutes more, until the celery is tender.
Stir in Cremini mushrooms, garlic, rosemary, and thyme and cook until the mushrooms soften, about 5 minutes more.
# 3 Add the stock, tomatoes, and the soaked mushrooms and their liquid.
Bring to a boil over high heat.
Return the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.
# 4 Stir in the bread.
Season with salt and pepper.
Remove from the heat, cover, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Stir well so the bread can break up and thicken the soup.
Spoon into deep bowls, drizzle each serving with olive oil, and serve your Porcini mushroom soup hot.Tweet
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