If you follow my blog or have gone out to eat with me, you know I'm a die hard mushroom lover. I could eat them every day. Not only do mushrooms taste phenomenal, but they're low in calories, help lower cholesterol and are fat-free. Additionally, they are full of nutrients such as- B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid), minerals (selenium, copper and potassium), and beta-glucans. Mushrooms are also an excellent source of Vitamin D. So when Marx Foods asked if I would like to participate in their "Shrooms for Soup Recipe Challenge," I just knew I had to enter. The premise of the challenge was simple. Marx Foods, a popular gourmet food purveyor, sends each contestant 3 kinds of dried mushrooms (matsutake, porcini and black trumpet). Each contestant needs to use at least one of the mushrooms in an original recipe. Then there will be a public poll...easy-peasy. (I'll let you know when it's up, so you can check it out.)
(dried shrooms clockwise, from top left: porcini, black trumpet, matsutake)
(Edward Gorey's Gashlycrumb Tinies)
I know the list of ingredients seems a bit lengthy but most of the items are probably already in your cupboard and fridge. There's minimal prep work involved in this recipe...most of the "labor" is just letting the ingredients simmer. Your end result? An exquisite, savory soup packed with robust flavor. The perfect meal for a chilly, autumn (or winter) evening.
Mushroom, Lamb and Farro Soup
1/2 oz. dried black trumpet mushrooms
1/2 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
1.5 tablespoons of olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 lb. ground lamb
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 lb. crimini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons very dry sherry
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons herbes de Provence
6 cups beef broth
2 tablespoons shio-koji
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup quick cook farro (I used Trader Joe's 10 Minute farro)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
1. In a medium sized bowl, place the dried mushrooms. Cover with 2.5 cups of hot water. Then cover the bowl with a plate and let soak for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, use a slotted spoon to remove the mushrooms, rinse the mushrooms under running water, dice them up and then place in a small bowl. Use a coffee filter or fine mesh strainer to strain the remaining mushroom liquid of any grit. Set aside 2 cups of the liquid for later use.
2. Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed stockpot or large dutch oven over medium heat until it begins to shimmer. Add garlic and cook for about 1 minute, until garlic becomes fragrant. Add ground lamb. Sauté until meat is almost cooked through.
3. Add carrots, onions and crimini mushrooms. Cook for 7-10 minutes, until vegetables are tender.
4. Add the dried mushrooms and the 2 cups of reserved mushroom broth. Add the sherry, red wine vinegar and herbes de Provence. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Allow to cook for 10 minutes.
5. Add stock, shio-koji and bay leaf. Allow soup to simmer for another 20 minutes.
6. Add farro, simmer for 15-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Season to taste with salt and fresh ground pepper.
7. Serve hot. Garnish with a pinch of chopped Italian parsley (optional).
* Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post other than receiving the dried mushrooms from Marx Foods. All opinions are completely my own.