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Caldo de Hongos (Clear Mushroom Soup)

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Mushrooms of many varieties are part of the cuisine in many areas of Mexico. This soup, presented at the Latin Flavors, American Kitchens Symposium at The Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio is a classic, said presenter Iliana de la Vega. De la Vega is a Mexican/Latin Cuisines Specialist at the CIA.

A clear broth seasoned with fragrant pasilla chiles is a flavorful base for this classic Mexican mushroom soup.

“It’s a simple, clear soup, almost Japanese or Asian in style,” said de la Vega. One may use any fresh mushroom, or a variety of types of mushrooms. Here are some tips from De la Vega about this delicate but nourishing soup:

  • Don’t cook the soup too long or the ingredients get mushy. De la Vega likes to start the soup slowly and let it “sweat” awhile, to let the mushrooms release some of their moisture.
  • Use yellow onion in the recipe if you like, but in Mexico cooks use white onions.
  • In Mexican cooking, salt is added at the end, which means that one tends to use less. Many of the presenters at this 2010 symposium also used Mexican salt.

Caldo de Hongos

4 dried pasilla chiles
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 pounds assorted mushrooms
1 white onion, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 cups chicken broth
4 sprigs epazote
Salt, to taste

Slice chiles crosswise in 1/8-inch lengths; discard the seeds and reserve.

In a large stockpot, heat the olive oil, saute the onion for 2 minutes, add the chiles (whole) and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté one more minute.

Add mushrooms and mix well, reducing the heat to very low. Cover the pot with a lid and sweat the mushrooms for about 5 minutes until they change color. Add chicken broth and epazote sprigs. Bring to a boil, season with salt to taste, simmer for 5-8 minutes or until the mushrooms are cooked through; discard the epazote. Do not overcook the mushrooms. If soup is being served later, remove from heat when it begins to boil. Serve hot.

Makes 6 portions.

Presented by Iliana de la Vega/Culinary Institute of America

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