I made it past the second anniversary of my cancer diagnosis without getting any bad news. January has become a strange time of year for me, always wondering what news I will get for my birthday.
Andrea, you are pregnant.
Andrea, you have cancer.
Andrea, we have to change your medication/treatment again because of (insert short or long list of reasons).
I am always happy for the good news or just the lack of bad news. Always happy for another year, especially this year.
Life is good. All my guys are doing well. Holiday break is almost over and I’ll be back in grad school classes soon. I came up with what I think is an excellent idea for my capstone project. It’s still a few semesters away, but the inspiration helps me plan. Volunteering at the local school makes me happy, especially when the children smile and wave, “Hi Mrs. Meyers!” Michael’s next book is almost ready to go, so we’ll have that to celebrate. My mother knitted a beautiful shawl for me and sent it for my birthday. It’s in several shades of purple, and I love that she made it. There are many, many stitches of love in it.
So much goodness.
And I’m finding happiness in my relationship with food. Cancer can rob you of an appetite and make you feel like you shouldn’t eat or drink anything except leaves and water, especially if you read some of the scary pseudo-information on the Internet. I sort out the chaff and have some good sources I rely on, such as Rebecca Katz and her books. And I found after all my searching that my regular way of eating was already pretty darn good and healthy, I just tweaked a couple things here and there, and came up with other ideas that work for me and keep my doctors happy.
Which brings me to this soup recipe. I adore mushroom soup. Not the canned stuff, but a good homemade soup with lots of real mushroom flavor and chunks of mushroom to swirl around in the bowl. I make it with fresh mushrooms that I roast in the oven and a homemade mushroom broth made from dried porcinis. Michael said it’s the most mushroom flavor he’s ever tasted in a soup, in a good way. If you like the earthy flavor of mushrooms, this soup will warm your belly and make you feel cozy inside.
Plenty of goodness in a bowl.
- 1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 4 cups (~1 liter) boiling water
- 24 ounces (681 g) baby portabella or cremini mushrooms, washed, trimmed, and quartered
- 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 rosemary sprigs
- 6 thyme sprigs
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound (454 g) sweet onions, thinly sliced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 3 cups cooked cannellini beans
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups (480 ml) milk
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Soak the dried porcini mushrooms in the boiling water until soft, about 20 minutes. Strain the mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Finely chop the porcinis and set aside.
- While the porcinis soak, preheat the oven to 375° F/190° C.
- Toss the the baby portabella mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil and a sprinkle of kosher salt and black pepper. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet and place the rosemary and thyme sprigs on top of the mushrooms. Roast until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid, then drain off the liquid and combine with the porcini broth. Return the mushrooms to the oven and continue roasting until brown and tender, about 20 to 30 minutes. Discard the herbs. Chop about 1 cup of the mushroom quarters and set aside.
- Warm the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and sauté the onions, carrots, and celery until soft. Add the porcinis, quartered baby portabellas, cooked cannellini beans, and mushroom broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook covered until the beans are soft, about 20 minutes. Stir in the milk and parsley and allow it to warm. Season with additional kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Puree in the blender, dividing into batches as necessary.
- Serve with some of the chopped roasted mushrooms on top.
2-quart pot with lid
baking sheet lined with foil
6-quart heavy bottom pot with lid.
For a lighter mushroom flavor, use 1/2 ounce of dried porcini mushrooms for the broth.
This is a delicious, hearty soup for a meatless dish, but if you feel like indulging, it’s also fabulous with a little bacon crumbled on top.