Wild Mushroom & Cauliflower Soup

Warm, hearty, and satisfying, no one will miss the meat

           This is yummy made in the fall when the local Hen o’ the Woods mushrooms appear. I love this made with a mix of these, shitake, and whatever you can find to round it out, such as earthy crimini mushrooms, or even button mushrooms!

A handful of dried mushrooms

2 tbsp. olive oil

16 ounces assorted mushrooms, sliced

1 leek, sliced

1 large sweet onion such as Vidalia, sliced

1 star anise

2 bay leaves

4 or 5 sprigs of fresh thyme, or a half-teaspoon of dried

1/2 cup dry sherry

1 quart vegetable stock

1 small head cauliflower

1 can light coconut milk


Salt and pepper

Place dried mushrooms in a cup of boiling water and set aside for a half hour.

Heat the oil in a large soup pot. Choose about two cups of the prettiest mushrooms and half of the onion, and sauté until soft and just starting to color slightly. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add a little more oil and add the rest of the fresh mushrooms, onion, and leek, and sauté until soft and tender, stirring in the herbs and some salt and pepper. Add the sherry and bring up any glaze on the bottom of the pan. Add the vegetable stock, reserved dried mushrooms and their liquid, and the cauliflower, well broken up. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for a half hour.

Fish out the bay leaves and anise pod. At this point, the easiest thing to do is use a hand immersion blender to puree the entire pot of soup. If you don’t have one, a food processor or blender will do the trick.

Once it is pureed, add the reserved sautéed mushrooms and onions, a few grates of nutmeg, and the coconut milk, adjust the seasoning, and return to low heat for another 10 minutes.