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MUSHROOM PEPPER SOUP
  • 1 large yellow onion -- diced fine
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds w/seaweed
  • 1 cup white wine (Pinot Grigio)
  • 1 teaspoon Toasted sesame oil
  • 2 small bell peppers, purple -- diced fine
  • 1 cayenne pepper, long -- cut crosswise into rings w/seeds
  • 1 De Arbol pepper -- rings
  • 2 Aji Habanero -- rings
  • 3 serrano peppers -- reserve 2
  • 4 Thai Dragon -- reserve 3
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 quarts vegetable broth
  • 1 quart chicken broth (non-fat)
  • 4 ounces mushrooms, woodears -- sliced into thin strips
  • 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms -- sliced lengthwise
  • 1 medium Chinese bitter melon (about 2" x 8") -- diced fine, soak in brine
  • 18 ounces firm tofu -- fine cubes
  • Bouquet Garni
  • 3 stalks lemon grass -- trim leaves, cut lengthwise and crush, then cut into 1" pieces
  • 3 sprigs basil -- crushed
  • 1 sprig dill -- crushed
  • 3 sprigs thyme -- crushed
  • 1 sprig curry -- crushed
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns -- cracked
    1. Seed and clean the bittermelon, then dice--soaking in salt water takes some of the bitterness out. Saute the onion and peppers in wine with sesame/seaweed, sesame oil and salt (first 11 ingredients) until onion is clear.
    2. Add the broth. While the soup heats, trim the stem ends from mushrooms, slicing the woodears into thin strips. Slice the shiitakes lengthwise, slicing the stems thinly. Rinse, then add to soup. Drain the bittermelon and add to soup.
    3. Prepare herbs, wrap in cheesecloth and add. Bring to boil, then simmer. Adjust salt and heat. It wasn't hot enough for me so I added 3 more Thai Dragons and 2 Serranos here. Some MSG if you like. Cayenne powder for color. Simmer about 20 min, until mushrooms are cooked.
    4. Serve with thick pieces of toasted sourdough peasant bread. Garnish with garlic chives or cilantro.

     

     
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