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Bok Choy and Shiitake Soup

This versatile vegetable stock serves as the building block for many favorite soups, including this one featuring Asian ingredients. The recipe yields enough stock for making additional soups as well (see related recipes at left).

Storage tip: Extra stock will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. For ease of use, you can store the stock in 1-cup or 1-quart plastic containers, ice cube trays or heavy-duty resealable bags of various sizes.

Ingredients:

For the vegetable stock:

  • 5 large leeks
  • 5 yellow onions, quartered
  • 8 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 6 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 6 fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 lb. button mushrooms, halved
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 5 quarts water
  • Salt, to taste
  •  
  • 1 head bok choy, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 4 green onions, including green tops, sliced
  • 1/4 lb. snow peas, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp. Asian sesame oil

Directions:

Make the vegetable stock
Trim, halve and rinse the leeks, then cut into chunks. In a stockpot, combine the leeks, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, button mushrooms and peppercorns. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover partially, and simmer until the vegetables are very soft and the flavors have blended, about 1 hour. Season with salt.

Pour the contents of the stockpot through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Press down on the solids to extract all the flavor, then discard the solids.

Simmer the soup
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring 4 cups of the vegetable stock to a simmer. Add the bok choy, shiitake mushrooms, green onions, snow peas, soy sauce and sesame oil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 4; makes about 5 quarts stock total.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Soup, by Georgeanne Brennan (Oxmoor House, 2006).