Guajillo Mushroom Soup
Sopa de Hongos con Guajillo
You find mushroom soup in Mexico year-round, but especially during the summer rainy season in the central part of the country, when foragers go out to the hills before dawn to gather all sorts of exotic varieties and bring them, still glistening with the morning dew, to local markets. With different textures, shapes, and colors, these mushrooms, rarely available in the cities, have whimsical names like birds’ feet, little cloves and blue clouds.
- 3 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 pounds fresh wild, or cultivated mushrooms, or a combination, cut into bite-size pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, or more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
- 8 cups vegetabel or chicken broth
- 5 sprigs fresh epazote or celantro
- Lime wedges for serving
- Heat a comal or skillet over medium-low heat. Add the guajillo chiles and toast, turning them, until their skin goes from soft and deep red to toasted and mostly browned but not blackened.
- Transfer the chiles to a saucepan, cover with hot water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the chiles are softened. Transfer to a blender, add 1 cup of their cooking liquid, and cover tightly. Puree until smooth.
- Heat the oil and butter in a large pot over medium heat until the butter melts. Add the onion and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is softened and the edges are just beginning to brown. Add the garlic, stir, and cook until fragrant, less than a minute. Raise the heat to high, stir the mushrooms, 1 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper, and let the mushrooms cook, stirring often. They will release their juices, evaporate, and begin to brown, which is what you want; it should take 10 to 12 minutes.
- Once all of the mushroom liquid has evaporated, reduce the heat to medium, stir in the pureed chiles, and cook until the puree thickens and most of it has been absorbed by the mushrooms, about 10 minutes. Add the broth, stir, add the epazote or cilantro sprigs, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes, until all the flavors come together. Remove the epazote or cilantro, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt, taste, and adjust the seasonings to your tasting,
- Serve with lime wedges.