Winter Eats: Immunity Soup Recipe
Got the January blues? The cure…aside from a rejuvenating sun-drenched holiday in the tropics is…. soup. This nourishing recipe is nutritional nirvana and guaranteed to give you a bit of a boost.
Enter the humble but wise Shiitake mushroom.
Not just a flash in the pan, these ancient funghi have been used in traditional Chinese healing for around five thousand years. So highly cherished for their medicinal and nutritional properties, these treasures were actually handed down as male birthrights.
Shiitake are absolutely crammed full of vitamins and minerals… vitamin c and d, b vitamins, copper, zinc, selenium, iron and all 8 of the amino acids plus linoleic acid, which aids weight loss but builds muscle. Their health giving properties are exemplary. Immune system boosting, cancer fighting, cardiovascular protecting, anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, great for the brain, skin and have reputed aphrodisiac qualities!
They have a chewier (dare I say meatier) texture than button or chestnut mushrooms and a real intense flavour, with dried shiitake packing even more of a punch.
Both fresh and dried can be found in most supermarkets. The trick is not to cook them for too long, thereby retaining all the good stuff.
Our immunity soup also includes some fresh ‘greens’, providing liver loving, toxin flushing power in the form of celery, asparagus and parsley. Coconut milk adds healthy fats and a satisfying creaminess.
If you are a seaweed lover and have some dried flakes to hand then this increases the mineral content and umami flavour.
This nourishing recipe makes for a great lunch or light supper, is perfect for vegan diets but can be adapted for meat eaters by switching to homemade chicken stock/bone broth – which provides extra gut healing power.
Olive oil/ ghee
1 small onion
2 sticks celery
4 spears of asparagus
125g pack of fresh shiitake
10 dried shiitake – soaked in 150ml boiling water
⅔ tin organic coconut milk – stirred well (use the remainder to enrich a smoothie or curry)
250ml organic vegetable stock or chicken stock/ bone broth
1 clove garlic – crushed
¼ tsp chilli flakes – optional
1 tsp dried seaweed flakes – optional
1 handful of fresh parsley – chop both stalks and leaves and keep separate
¼ lemon – juice
Sea salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
Soak the dried shiitake in the freshly boiled water and leave to rehydrate for 45 mins. Remove and squeeze out excess liquid. Strain the soaking liquid through a sieve to remove any grit and reserve to add extra flavour to the soup later.
Slice the rehydrated shiitake.
Chop the onion finely and gently sauté on medium heat for 5 mins. Add the chopped celery and asparagus and cook for a few more minutes. Next stir in the parsley stalks and both the chopped fresh and rehydrated shiitake. Sauté for a another minute or two and then stir in the crushed garlic and dried seaweed and chilli flakes if using.
Now add the coconut milk closely followed by the stock and the reserved soaking liquid and most of the chopped parsley leaves (leave a little for sprinkling on at the end).
Let the mixture simmer gently for a few more minutes. Season with sea salt and black pepper and a squeeze of lemon.
Turn the heat off, and then blend until smooth. It is quite a thick soup, that’s why it’s so filling but feel free to add extra stock if you prefer a thinner texture.
Ladle into bowls and sprinkle on the last of the chopped parsley and drizzle over a little extra virgin olive oil. There you have it. A bowl full of self love.