Wild Mushroom Miso Soup
Mushroom foraging can be pretty hit or miss. We’ve had mornings where we not only filled our baskets, but our hats, pockets, hoods, decoy bags- anything we had to carry the bounty. We’ve also had days where we find one or two, throw them in the basket in the anticipation of more, and then come home at the end of the day with a paltry handful of mushrooms. In either scenario, feast or famine, we often break out the dehydrator to preserve our find.
When we can’t stop finding mushrooms, the dehydrator is a wonderful way to preserve and extend our harvest. For the sparse days, it allows us to stockpile odds and ends until we forage enough for a meal. Dehydration for preservation is easy, safe, and an efficient way to transform mushrooms that might be a little banged up or otherwise slightly past prime into a base for other exceptional dishes.
This is a simple and quick cure-all soup for when we feel a bit under the weather, or are feeling down that hunting season is at an end. Rich, woodsy, mushroom flavors enhance the deep umami of the dashi and miso, for a dish that is both warming and light. Rehydrate your dried, non-choice edible mushrooms, like tough pheasant backs or shiitake stems, for a flavorful broth, and strain them out. Then, add other, choice, dried or fresh mushrooms to the soup for body and texture. For this batch, we used a mix of dehydrated comb tooth (hericium coralloides) and oyster mushrooms, but use whatever you have in the kitchen.
A note on the miso- there are several varieties. White miso will have a lighter flavor profile, much like what you would get at a Japanese restaurant. We like to use red miso in this soup, which has an earthier character.
Wild Mushroom Miso Soup
Prep time: 40 minutes
4 cups water
2 oz dried, non-choice mushrooms (pheasant back & shiitake stems)
2 oz dried, choice mushrooms (comb tooth & oyster mushroom)
1 ½ tsp dashi granules
3 tbsp miso
½ sheet nori, cut into small pieces
½ piece tofu, cut into small cubes
Heat the water in a saucepan to a boil and stir in non-choice mushrooms. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer covered for 10-20 minutes, until the broth is dark. Strain out the mushrooms, reserving the stock. Return stock to saucepan, bring back to a simmer, and add in the dried choice mushrooms. Cook, covered, until the mushrooms are tender. This may take more or less time depending on the species and size of your dried mushrooms. When tender, add miso, stirring until dissolved. Add dashi, stir and adjust seasoning as needed. Add cubed tofu and simmer for 2-3 more minutes, stir in nori and serve. Garnish with chives or spring onions.