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Mushroom & Tomato Chowder

By Chef John Ash

Remember that curry powders vary in strength and of course flavor profile. Choose the one you like and taste carefully to decide if you want more.

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    Serves 6

    Total Time 5 days

    Prep Time 5 days

    Difficulty Level Medium


    1 lb fresh wild or flavorful cultivated mushrooms

    5 tbsp olive oil

    1 oz dried porcini or forest blend mushrooms, soaked in warm water till soft

    1 large white onion, finely diced

    1 tbsp finely chopped garlic

    1 tbsp finely minced, peeled ginger

    1 tbsp good curry powder, or to taste

    28 oz can diced tomatoes in juice (Muir Glen fire roasted preferred)

    4 c rice chicken or vegetable stock

    1 c dry white wine

    1 tsp whole fennel seed

    Salt to taste

    Freshly ground pepper to taste

    1 qt gently packed parsley leaves, woody stems discarded (for parsley pesto)

    1 tbsp chopped, poached or roasted garlic (for parsley pesto)

    1-2 tbsp lightly toasted pine nuts or blanched almonds (for parsley pesto)

    2 tsp finely grated lemon zest (for parsley pesto)

    1/3 c freshly grated parmesan, pecorino or asiago cheese (for parsley pesto)

    1/3 or so of olive oil (for parsley pesto)

    Salt (for parsley pesto)

    Freshly ground pepper (for parsley pesto)


    1. Clean the fresh mushrooms (discard the stems from shiitake if using) and slice thickly. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a heavy bottomed soup pot and sauté the mushrooms over moderately high heat until lightly colored but still holding their shape. Remove mushrooms and set aside.

    2. Drain the dried mushrooms, reserving the soaking water and chop. Add the remaining oil to the pot along with the dried mushrooms, onion, garlic, ginger, curry powder and cook over moderately high heat until just beginning to color.

    3. Add tomatoes, stock, wine, fennel seed and reserved mushroom soaking liquid (strained if gritty) and simmer for 10 minutes.

    4. Season to your taste with salt and pepper. Add the cooked fresh mushrooms and serve in warm soup bowls swirled with a dollop of pesto.

    5. Plunge parsley leaves into a pan of lightly salted boiling water for 5 seconds. Immediately drain and plunge into a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking and set the bright green color.

    6. Drain and squeeze out as much water as possible. Add parsley to a blender along with the garlic, nuts, zest and cheese and purée, adding oil slowly to facilitate.

    7. Correct seasoning with salt and pepper. Store covered in refrigerator for up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.

    8. Pesto can be added to a vegetable or chicken stock to make a delicious sauce or soup base.

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