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Garden Vegetable Chowder

Garden Vegetable Chowder

Makes 3 to 4 servings

For the mushroom stock:
3 1/2 cups water
1/2 ounce dried shiitake mushrooms
1 piece kombu (approximately 6-square inches in size)

For the chowder:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium-size carrot, sliced
1/4 cup diced onions
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon mirin
1 cup chopped green cabbage
1 cup chopped spinach
1 cup diced zucchini

1. Make the mushroom stock: Place the dried shiitake mushrooms and kombu in a pot with the water. Bring the water almost to a boil and then turn down the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the stock stand for 3 minutes. Squeeze the mushrooms to release the stock they have soaked up, then strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer and set aside. Cut off and discard the shiitake stems and then slice the caps into thin slices and set aside.

2. Make the chowder: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Saute the carrot, onion, garlic, and ginger over low heat until softened, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the broth, soy sauce, mirin, sliced shiitake mushrooms, cabbage, and spinach to the saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and then cook for 4 more minutes. Remove from heat and serve.