Shiitake mushrooms are the star here, but peas three ways are perfect supporting actors.
Growing up, my uncle Leonard and Aunt Mary were neighbors. He was a great forager of many wild delights, especially mushrooms. From a young age, I learned to love the flavor of chanterelles, hen of the woods (maitake), morels, and other wild treasures. It’s a good thing, because the only mushrooms found in the grocery store in those days were fresh white button or slimy canned.
A little fresh, a little dried, a lot of flavor
But times have changed, and we have a world of mushrooms just begging to be used. Shiitake mushrooms are a favorite mushroom in my family. They are filled with both flavor and nutrition, and I use them whenever possible from stir-fries to omelets. In a soup, they lend a meatiness and flavor that is memorable. They are not native to our area, but our local farmers have been growing them for years, much to my pleasure!
I’ve used both fresh and dried mushrooms here to extract the most flavor. Tucked in my refrigerator is a bag of accumulated mushrooms stems and pieces I save to make mushroom broth. This is what I used here, but you can also use any fresh button or crimini mushroom. I’ve gotten good deals on seconds that have dried out a bit, they are actually filled with more flavor, just pass by any that are slimy. Look for dried shiitake mushrooms, to lend an enhanced flavor to the dish. They are getting quite easy to find, but check the source that they are not from China.
Now, for the peas
The peas round out the flavor in this soup, and I’ve used frozen peas, fresh snow peas, and pea shoots fresh from a local farm. During pea season, use everything fresh, and toss the pods of the shelling peas in with the mushroom stock for even more flavor.
The buckwheat noodles give this light soup a bit more heartiness. You can use any favorite noodle here. I’ve cooked them separately and added them to the bowl before ladling on the broth. If cooked in the broth, they will absorb too much of the soup.
Shiitake Mushroom Noodle Soup with Peas Three Ways
- 8 oz. trimmed shiitake mushrooms, sliced
- 8 oz. mushroom stems and pieces, or market seconds
- 1 tbsp. fruity olive oil
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped, skins and all
- ½ oz. dried shiitake mushrooms
- 10 cups water
- 2 oz. snow peas, any strings removed
- 1 cup thawed frozen green peas
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 8 oz. buckwheat soba noodles
- Scallions and pea shoots to garnish
Clean all mushrooms with a damp towel.
Trim the stems from the shiitake mushrooms, set aside the caps for later, and place the stems in a large saucepan with a tablespoon, of fruity olive oil. This is the beginning of your broth. Chop any other mushrooms and pieces you are using, stems and all, and add them to the saucepan.
Chop up the entire onion, skins, roots, and all, and add to the pan. Sauté over medium high until everything has softened.
Add 10 cups of water, the dried mushrooms, and a little salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Strain broth into a large saucepan, taste, and correct seasoning.
While the stock is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil to cook the buckwheat noodles according to package directions. Mine were done in six minutes after the water boiled.
Add the reserved sliced mushrooms to the stock and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the snow peas and thawed peas and continue cooking until the pods are just tender.
Place a serving of noodles in each bowl, spoon over the soup and garnish with the scallions and pea shoots. When eating, stir the pea shoots into the broth to wilt.
© Copyright 2022– or current year, The New Vintage Kitchen. Unattributed use of this material is strictly prohibited. Reposting and links may be used, provided that credit is given to The New Vintage Kitchen, with active link and direction to this original post.
The New Vintage Kitchen does not accept ads or payment for mention of products or businesses.