Lobster and brown mushroom Manhattan chowder
2 cup sliced lobster mushrooms, about 2 oz
1½ cups brown mushrooms — halved if large, whole if small
2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth, you could use water in a pinch
4 oz bacon, diced. (lightly freeze bacon to make it easier to cut)
2 cups peeled russet potato, diced 1/2 inch
1 cup tomato sauce (you could use canned, or just puree some fresh)
1 cup fresh sweet corn
½ cup celery, diced ¼ inch
1 cup onion, diced ¼ inch
2 large red sweet peppers, seeds removed and diced ½ inch
4 small cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
½ cup white wine
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes (like the kind you put on pizza), or a couple dashes of your favorite hot sauce, like sriracha or Tabasco
1 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or oregano
Clean the mushrooms, if they are dirty enough to warrant washing in water, allow them to air dry on some towels for 30 minutes or so. In a saucepot with high sides, or a pasta pot, slowly render the bacon until it is crisp and has released its fat. Remove half of the bacon fat, leaving the rest in the pan to cook the mushrooms. Increase the heat to high and add the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they have released their juice and have taken on some color, about five minutes. If your mushrooms were wet, this will take longer.
Season the mushrooms with 1/2 tsp of salt, then add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for two minutes. Next add the celery, onion, and peppers and cook until they have softened, about five minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Next add the potatoes, corn, chicken or vegetable stock and the tomato sauce, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender.
Season the soup with salt to taste, it should also be a tiny bit spicy, so add another dash of hot sauce if it needs it. If you made the soup with water, check the seasoning a second time. Finally add the fresh cilantro and serve. Garnishing this with a bit of fruity olive oil or virgin sunflower oil would be great too. Serve with crusty bread and a green salad.
— Barbara Rexford