Puree this creamy mushroom soup with stale bread to thicken the texture and deepen its flavor. Enjoy the earthy and rustic tastes in every spoonful, each containing just a hint of tangy yet delicious flavor-notes arising from the umeboshi plum. Often referred to as the "king of alkaline foods," umeboshi plums are an ancient food used to balance and strengthen the body. Pair them with mushrooms, and their immune-boosting qualities, and you've got yourself a perfectly nourishing soup.
• 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (cremini, shiitake, or mixed work well)
• 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
• Extra virgin olive oil, for cooking
• 1/2 cup cashews, soaked and drained
• 1/4 loaf of stale hearty dark bread, such as pumpernickel (whatever is leftover works)
• 2 tsp. umeboshi plum paste
• 4 cups vegetable stock, or other broth of choice
• 2 cups filtered water
• 1 tsp. dried thyme
• Salt and black pepper to taste
• Additional filtered water for consistency
1. Heat a large pot over med-high heat. Once heated, add the mushrooms to the pan so they have room. Doing this without oil gets the mushrooms to sweat, releasing their flavorful juices. Once they start sweating, sauté and season with thyme and salt.
2. Add the cauliflower florets; let them heat up and toast a little, then drizzle olive oil and cook them for a couple more minutes.
3. Add the broth, water, and umeboshi plum paste; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer until the florets are tender.
4. Add the bread in chunks to the soup; simmer until softened, about 5 minutes. Mmm yum! You can smell the deliciousness at this point.
5. Working in batches, puree the soup in a food processor or blender. When you puree, add the cashews as this is what gives your soup that amazing creamy consistency. Return the soup to the pot, season with salt and pepper to taste, and keep warm.
6. Ladle the soup into bowls, garnish with fresh herbs like chives or dill, maybe some cooked mushrooms or extra chunks of bread (we can begin to eat with our eyes). Voilà, and serve!