Preparation time 15 minutes, plus soaking
Cooking time 45 minutes
• 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
• 125ml/4 1/2fl oz boiling water • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
• 3 leeks, white and light green parts only, very thoroughly washed and finely diced
• 1 small yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
• 2 cloves garlic, crushed
• 1 tsp fresh thyme
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 450g/1lb crimini mushrooms, stems removed and caps roughly chopped
• 1 large Portobello mushroom, stem removed and cap roughly chopped
• 1 3/4pt vegetable stock
• Fresh parsley, for serving
1. Place the shiitake mushrooms in a small bowl or teacup with the boiling water and set aside for at least 10 minutes. Drain the mushrooms, being sure to reserve their soaking liquid. Slice off and discard the stems and thinly slice the caps and set them aside.
2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, onion, garlic and thyme, along with 2 heavy pinches of salt, and cook, stirring now and then, until softened but not browned – about 9-10 minutes. Add the crimini and portobello mushrooms along with the reserved shiitake mushrooms, stir to combine with the leek mixture and cook until the mushrooms begin to release their liquid - about 5-6 minutes.
3. Add the vegetable stock and the reserved mushroom soaking liquid (avoid any grit that might be at the bottom) to the pot and turn up the heat. Once the soup comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 20 minutes to bring it all together.
4. Carefully purée the soup in a blender. If you want a really refined, smooth texture, you can pass the puréed soup through a fine-mesh strainer. Serve immediately with a bit of parsley for colour and a healthy grind of black pepper.