Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cajun Mushroom Soup

This recipe caught my eye because in its omnivorous incarnation it was billed as "mock turtle soup." This sounded promising, but I soon learned that since turtles are hard to find outside of Louisiana they had been replaced with veal. There was even a note in the margin saying "no reptile was harmed in the making of this mock turtle soup." Oh, good. So, a calf was taken from its mother, kept in the dark in a confinement pen, feed an iron deficient diet, and slaughtered at a young age; but at last the turtles got a pass! This recipe is an experiment in using seaweed to keep a seafood-like stock, which I think worked very well. The original recipe also called for diced hard boiled eggs which I replaced with some tofu and black salt. Feel free to leave this out and just add more mushrooms.

Seaweed Stock
- 8 cups water
- about 1 cup seaweed (I had dulse on hand , but you could use kombu)
- 2 nori sheets, crumbled

1. Bring all ingredient to a boil in a stockpot. Cover and simmer for 30 mins. Remove from heat and strain.

Mushroom Soup
- 1/4 cup oil
- 1 large yellow onion, small dice
- 2 celery stalks, small dice
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tbsp minced fresh thyme
- 1 tsp paprika
- cayenne pepper to taste
- 1/2 lb oyster mushrooms, washed and roughly chopped
- 1/2 lb shitake mushrooms, sliced
- 1/3 cup all purpose flour
- 2 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 cup minced fresh tomatoes (chop as finely as you can)
- 6 cups seaweed stock
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp vegan oyster sauce
- 1 cup tofu, small dice
- black salt (or regular) and pepper to taste
- juice of 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions
- 1/2 cup dry sherry

1. Heat the oil in a stock pot over med-hi heat. Add the onion, celery, bay leaves, thyme, paprika, and cayenne and cook, stirring frequently, until tender and golden brown (about 10 mins). Add mushrooms and cook until just beginning to release their water. Add flour, mix well, and cook for 5 mins (add a splash more oil, if needed).
2. Add garlic, tomatoes, seaweed stock, sauces, and tofu. Mix well, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for about an hour.
3. If the soup is too thick, add more stock. If too thin, add some tomato paste. Taste and adjust all seasonings as you see fit.
4. Add lemon juice, parsley, and green onions and simmer for 30 mins. Remove bay leaves, stir in sherry, adjust seasonings one last time and serve with crusty bread.