It was at Sam’s request that I made the soup. To my surprise, when Speedy saw me prepping the mushrooms and asked what I what I was making, he made a little happy exclamation when he heard there was going to be soup in our meal. Well, “a little happy exclamation” would be putting it mildly. He raised his hands and said “Yes!” as though he won the lotto or something.
They’re soup people, Speedy and Sam. But Alex and I? Not so much although we rarely say no to miso soup. All three of them are not huge fans of wakame and, as a rule, they leave most of the wakame in the pot. But that’s more than okay with me because I can, and am more than willing, to consume all the wakame that they often find overwhelming. I love the stuff. Probably as much as I love mushrooms.
Why the combination of shimeji and wood ears? To be honest? Because they were what we had. Soup wasn’t really part of the planned menu for Christmas Eve but Sam asked, and… well, why not? I could have made a basic miso soup but when I was retrieving the packets of dashi from one of the shelves underneath the kitchen island, I found a bag of dried wood ears. Not a lot but, if added to the leftover shimeji in the fridge, we could have a chunky miso soup. And that was how my wood ears and shimeji mushrooms miso soup came to be.
Wood Ears and Shimeji Mushrooms Miso Soup
- 1/3 cup dried wood ears soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes
- 1/2 to 1 cup shimeji mushrooms
- 1/4 cup dried wakame soaked in warm water for at least 20 minutes
- 2 packets dashi granules
- 2 heaping tablespoons miso paste
- In a pot, heat eight cups of water until boiling.
- While waiting for the water to boil, finely slice the wood ears and cut off the root ends of the shimeji.
- Wring out the excess water from the wakame and finely slice the seaweed.
- When the water is boiling, scoop out a cup and reserve.
- Into the reserved cup of water, stir the miso paste until dissolved.
- Add the shimeji and wood ears to the boiling water and cook for half a minute. Lower the heat so that the water is barely simmering.
- Stir in the wakame.
- Empty the packets of dashi granules into the pot of water. Stir.
- Turn off the heat. Stir in the diluted miso paste.