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Chinese Mushroom Soup

1-1oz package dried black Chinese mushrooms (shiitake)
1-cup chopped onion
˝-cup diced red bell pepper
1-tbsp minced garlic
2-tsp minced gingerroot
2-tsp peanut oil
2-cups sliced mushrooms
3 ˝-cups chicken stock
1/3-cup slivered lean ham
˝-cup thinly sliced green onions
1-tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce
1-tbsp dry sherry
1-tbsp cornstarch

Soak the dried mushrooms in warm water just to cover until softened, about 20 minutes
Drain well and slice, discarding the tough stems
In a large saucepan sauté onion, red pepper, garlic and gingerroot in oil for 1 minute
Add both mushrooms and sauté 5 minutes
Add chicken stock
Heat to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, covered for 15 minutes
Stir in ham and green onions; heat to a boil
Combine soy sauce, sherry and cornstarch
Add to soup; boil, stirring until thickened, about 1-2 minutes

Makes 6 servings (3/4-cup each)