The temperatures here have been steadily on the cool side. It’s been rainy, windy and chilly but absolutely beautiful! We had our first dusting of snow on the mountains a couple days ago. I love this time of year when the temperatures drop. It’s time for beanie’s, sweaters and snuggling up with a bowl of soup or chili to keep warm. I’ve been making a lot of chili lately and decided it was time to add another soup to the recipe collection. This soup was inspired by a friend of mine who shared a picture of her mushroom & buckwheat soup on Facebook and I fell in love. Off I went googling to research and pull together this recipe.
I have two firsts here, for one I am using toasted buckwheat groats, aka kasha, (usually I use raw) and the other I will be trying out oyster mushrooms. I also get a chance to use fennel seeds which I am in love with right now! But don’t worry if you don’t have any on hand, the thyme called for will do just fine. In fact you can play around with the herbs using sage, smoked paprika, a bay leaf while cooking, a pinch of cayenne or simply use no herbs and opt for salt & pepper to taste. As for the mushrooms, you can use a variety or keep it simple with just one type. If you’re feeling exotic, try using some wild mushrooms. If you’re feeling simple, use regular button mushrooms for convenience and ease. No matter what kind of mushrooms you use I’m sure you’ll enjoy this simple honest soup!
Let’s talk a little about buckwheat before we get to the recipe. Despite its name, buckwheat, aka kasha once toasted, does not contain wheat or belong to the wheat family. It’s a gluten free seed, sometimes considered a grain, with a good amount of protein, containing 6 grams per 1/4 cup dry. They have a mild, earthy flavor. Once roasted, the flavor will intensify lending a nuttier flavor. Buckwheat groats work great in soups, cereals and raw cookies so far that I have tried. I’m sure there are many more uses for this nutritious seed. In this recipe they will plump up and soften making them a great replacement for the traditional barley that is served in this soup. You can purchase these raw buckwheat groats from Bob’s Red Mill or these toasted buckwheat groats from Arrowhead Mills. I made the mistake of buying the latter but wasn’t too disappointed as they are great as well, but I prefer the raw ones for cereals like this Bircher Muesli and raw dessert truffles like these Coconut Lemon Bombs. I used the toasted ones here with a first time success but I’m sure the raw buckwheat groats would be just as tasty, if not better!
MUSHROOM & BUCKWHEAT SOUP
- 2 tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
- 2 leeks, sliced lengthwise and thinly sliced (green and white part only) or 1 large onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced (a few chopped leaves is great too)
- 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 1b. (16 oz) mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup buckwheat groats (use either raw or toasted), rinsed
- 2 teaspoons thyme
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 7 – 8 cups low sodium vegetable or mushroom broth, or 7 – 8 cups water with 2 vegetable boullion cubes
- juice of 1 lemon, optional
- mineral salt & fresh cracked pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped to garnish
In a large dutch oven or stock pot, heat oil over medium heat, add leeks and celery, cook, stirring occasionally until softened, about 5 minutes. Add in carrots and mushrooms, cook another 4 minutes. Add in groats, thyme, fennel seeds, broth, lemon juice and salt & pepper, bring to a boil, partially cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes.
Serve garnished with a sprinkle of parsley and a side of crusty artisan bread or gluten free bread of choice.
Serves 4 – 6
For the mushrooms, feel free to use one or more of the following…shitake, oyster, porcini, button, cremini or baby bella’s. I used a combination of shitake, oyster and baby bella’s but all one kind would be great too! Feel free to add extra mushrooms to the soup if you like!
For the liquid I used about 8 cups. Start with the smaller amount and add more as you see fit.
I completely forgot to top with parsley for the photos. It will add a nice fresh bright flavor to the soup!
Feel free to use pearl barley, which is not gluten free, in place of the buckwheat groats. Just be sure to cook your soup for about 20 to 30 minutes, until barley is tender.