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Wild Mushroom Soup (Sopa de Hongos)

During the summer rainy season, when wild mushrooms appear in the hills surrounding the central plateau of Mexico, mushrooms are sold at the market at Cholula, a university town in the state of Puebla.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup safflower or canola oil, plus more as needed 
  • 1 white onion, finely diced 
  • 8 garlic cloves, finely diced 
  • 4 serrano chilies, seeded and finely diced 
  • 3 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and finely diced 
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, or as needed 
  • 2 lb. fresh wild mushrooms, brushed clean and sliced 
  • 2 tsp. sea salt, plus more, to taste  
  • 9 cups chicken broth 
  • 4 fresh epazote leaves, finely chopped (optional) 
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Directions:

In a Dutch oven or other large, heavy pot over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and sauté until deep gold, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and chilies and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer, uncovered, until very soft, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large fry pan over medium-high heat, warm the 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat evenly with the oil, adding more oil if the pan seems dry. Season with the 2 tsp. salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms release their liquid, about 5 minutes.

Add the mushrooms to the onion mixture, pour in the broth and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Add the epazote and stir well. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes to blend the flavors.

Ladle the soup into warmed bowls and serve immediately. Serves 8.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Savoring Series, Savoring Mexico, by Marilyn Tausend (Time-Life Books, 2000).