Saturday, March 17, 2012

Rustic Mushroom Soup with Dumplings

This is the official launch of Pamela's Modern Family Table, a blog devoted to gluten-free, vegetarian cuisine. Welcome all two of my followers! 

In anticipation of this new venture, I wrote a little poem, borrowing irreverently from the nursery rhyme: Jack Sprat could eat no fat; his wife could eat no lean. And so between them both they licked the platter clean. So it goes. As Rich eats no meat and I eat no wheat, I thought I was rather clever reappropriating it. 

He said I should never let my poem see the light of day.  And that's why you and I can both be grateful for my husband. You'll never have to hear my horrid poetry. Fortunately, he is more encouraging about my cooking. 

I love vegetarian and vegan cookbooks, but the problem I find with almost all of them is that they rely quite heavily on wheat. No wonder T. Colin Campbell of the acclaimed China Study says he felt awful upon commencing a vegan diet, all the wheat! More on why I don't like the grain in future posts.  

To kick off the new project, try my rendition of the River Cottage Veg Everyday Mushroom Stoup. You can make the soup and dumplings ahead of time and refrigerate both--separately of course--until about half an hour before you’re ready to serve. Just heat the soup to a simmer and proceed as usual.

serves 2-4

1 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons butter, or Earth Balance Natural Spread
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 yellow onions, diced
4 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
3 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced
4 cloves garlic, smashed
4 cups vegetable broth
1 sprig rosemary
4 sprigs thyme
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Dumplings
1 sprig thyme, leaves only
1 stalk sage, leaves only, minced
2/3 cup cold butter, diced, or Earth Balance Natural Spread 
2 cups gluten-free, self-rising flour (or thoroughly sift together 2 cups gluten-free flour, ½ teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons baking powder)
1/3-1/2 cup cold water
Pour very hot water over the dried porcinis until they’re just covered. Set aside.

Melt the butter and olive oil over medium-low heat in a large stock pot. Add the onions and a pinch of sea salt. Sweat for 10 to 15 minutes until translucent. Add the carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes.
Turn up the heat and add the fresh mushrooms and brown for about 2 minutes.

Remove the soaked porcinis to a strainer. Pour the soaking liquid through a coffee filter, reserving it. Give the mushrooms a quick rinse in warm water to remove any residual dirt. You don’t want any sand in your soup! Add the porcinis, garlic, the soaking liquid, herbs and the vegetable broth to the soup. Simmer over medium low heat for about half an hour.

Meanwhile, whiz together the herbs, butter and flour in a food processor until rough and crumbly. Remove the blade and sprinkle in enough cold water just to bind. Gently form the dough into about 16 small balls, being careful not to press too tightly. They will expand when cooked.

Place all of the dumplings in the soup, cover with a lid and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until fluffy and cooked through. Ladle dumplings into soup bowls and cover with remaining liquid. 

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