Wild Mushroom Soup

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2 Tbsp. dried porcini mushrooms
7 1/2 cups boiling water, divided
1/2 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh sage, chopped
5 Tbsp. margarine, divided
1 tsp. salt
1 cup oyster mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts, ground in a nut mill or food processor
Salt and freshly milled black pepper, to taste
1/3 cup nondairy whipping cream, unwhipped (try Rich’s brand at Richs.com), or liquid nondairy creamer
1/3 cup dry sherry
1 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice

• Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl, cover with 1 1/2 cups boiling water, and allow to soak for 30 minutes.
• In a large pot, over medium heat, sauté the shiitake mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, and sage in 4 Tbsp. of the margarine until the vegetables are softened. Pour in the dried porcini mushrooms along with their soaking water and the remaining 6 cups of boiling water. Add the salt. Bring the soup to a gentle simmer and cook for 1 hour, uncovered.
• Strain the soup and discard the bay leaves. Purée the vegetables and one cup of the stock in a food processor, then return this to the strained stock, and whisk it to a smooth consistency. Set aside.
• In a saucepan, melt the remaining 1 Tbsp. of margarine over medium heat. Add the oyster mushrooms and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the soup mixture, stir in the ground walnuts, season with salt and pepper, and allow it to continue cooking gently for 10 minutes.
• Just before serving, stir in the nondairy whipping cream or nondairy creamer, the sherry, and the lemon juice.

Makes 4 servings

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