Shiitake Mushroom Soup

Whenever I feel the slightest bit of illness coming on, this is my go-to soup.  While some people may believe in chicken noodle soup, I believe in the power of shiitake mushrooms. Considered a medicinal mushroom, shiitakes boost immunity, are a powerful antioxidant, and offer a fair amount of vitamin B and D.  During this insane flu season, there is nothing like a spicy bowl of shiitake mushroom soup to clear your sinuses and fight back against unwelcome invaders.

Like all good soups, this one takes a bit of time to develop the flavors, but it is worth it.  While it tastes great on the day of, it's even better the next day.  This is also my dad's favorite soup.  If it's dad approved, that definitely means it's good.

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Shiitake Mushroom Soup

1 ounce bag of dried shiitake mushrooms, rinsed

2 cups water

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, chopped

2-3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tsp dried basil

½ tsp dried oregano

½ tsp dried thyme

½-1 tsp crushed red pepper (adjust to your level of desired kick)

2 bay leaves

2 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

½ cup burgundy wine

⅔ cup reduced sodium tamari

1 14.5 ounce can no salt diced tomatoes

1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

black pepper, to taste

1. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, then pour into a large glass bowl with shiitake mushrooms.  Cover and let sit for about 20 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a deep, heavy pot or a dutch oven over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent (3-5 minutes).  Add spices, bay leaves, garlic, a bit of black pepper, and cook for 3 more minutes over low heat.  Add carrots and celery.  Cook for 5 more minutes.

3. Reserving the liquid, strain the mushrooms.  Add mushrooms, burgundy, soy sauce and diced tomatoes to carrots, celery and onions.  Cover with a lid, and simmer on low for 20 minutes.

4. Remove lid, and add reserved mushroom water and tomato sauce.  Cover with lid, and simmer on low for 15 minutes.  Taste, and adjust seasonings (more tamari, more red pepper flakes).  Simmer for longer or serve.

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