My Potato Portobello Soup is a sort of a new age Vichyssoise, delicious hot or chilled. I like to keep my soups meatless at all costs (unless of course the meat or poultry is the star, as in beef soup or chicken soup). So all my soups are vegetarian and water-based, and I am told – forgive the swagger – delicious. I am the water soup girl, and mighty proud of it! I only have a handful of soups that need a strong meat of chicken broth to achieve full flavor: this portobello soup, and onion soup among them. Still I am determined to keep them not only meatless, but all natural as always, so commercial soup powders, soup cubes, consommes, broth and Gd Knows what other heavily processed calamities are out.
All right: Here’s my secret for perfect beef or meat flavor in the few soups where we need that “Fleishik” layer: I recreate a very realistic natural meatless chicken broth in this wonderful soup by using white miso paste and dry sherry or sake (for beef flavor, I use dark miso and red wine). You just wouldn’t believe how fabulous it tastes. If you would rather not use potatoes, that’s all right, it is indeed the portobello that is the star in this soup; explore with other white roots, all suitable and all great: Celery root, turnips, parsnips, etc….
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 4 large leeks, white and light green parts, sliced
- 2 pounds Portobello mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup dry sherry or sake (liquor stores)
- 8 cups water
- 3 large Yukon potatoes, cut into large chunks (avoiding carbs, use celery root, turnips, parsnips, yellow zucchini etc)
- 6 sprigs thyme, leaves only
- 2 good pinches saffron
- 4 bay leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon ground
- 1 cup white miso paste
- 4 cups milk or dairy-free milk (soy, rice, almond, oat etc), low-fat OK
- Good pinch nutmeg
- Ground pepper to taste
Heat the oil in a wide heavy pot, and add the leeks. Sauté until translucent. Add the portobello and sauté until all liquids evaporate. Take out a handful of the portobello mixture and reserve, this is your garnish. Add the sherry, water, potatoes, thyme, saffron and bay leaves, and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium and cook, covered, one hour. Add the miso, milk, nutmeg and pepper and heat through, another 3-4 minutes. Cream with an immersion blender. Adjust the texture and seasonings. Stir in the reserved portobello mixture. Delicious hot or chilled.