Udon noodles are immersed in a rich and nutritious mushroom soup and topped with smoky grilled mushrooms and sweet roasted garlic. Delicious and so healthy.
The key ingredient in this roast garlic and smoky mushroom udon soup is the soup itself. It brings everything together. One reason for how it does that is the use of shiitake dashi as a base. Shiitake dashi is vegetarian. It does not use bonito flakes (katsuobushi), instead just kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms. Apart from that, use the same method to prepare it.
A key ingredient in the broth is the dried porcini mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms have a wonderful earthy foresty flavour which becomes an important dimension of this broth. You can also buy dried forest mushroom mixes. Such a wild forest mushroom mix would make a good substitute for the porcini.
Dried mushrooms can be prone to grit. It is important to strain the broth well. There is no substitute for dried mushrooms, though. There is something about how the drying/rehydration process intensifies the flavour, just what we need for this mushroom broth.
I used the species of garlic that has large individual cloves. So sweet and delicious after being slow-roasted for 90 minutes or so. Normal heads of garlic would work just as well. See these instructions on roasting heads of garlic.
Buy vacuum packed udon noodles rather than dried ones and just heat them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Such a great texture.
Roast garlic and smoky mushroom udon soup
- 2 leeks
- 1 onion
- 2 medium carrots
- 40 g dried porcini mushrooms
- 150 g fresh shiitake mushrooms or 40 g dried
- 150 g fresh cremini or button mushrooms
- mushroom stalks from trimming fresh mushrooms used for the smoky mushroom topping
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 parsley stalks
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 5 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp black peppercorns
- 8 cups shiitake dashi or water
- 500 g udon noodles vacuum sealed ready for reheating
- 12 cloves garlic the very large cloves, otherwise 2 heads of garlic
- 1 Tbsp Olive oil
- Wash the onions, leeks, and garlic, removing any dodgy bits
- Cut onions coarsely, skins included
- Cut and discard the course green parts from the top of the leeks.
- Dice the white part of the leeks.
- Smash the garlic cloves with the side of a large knife. Only the garlic for the broth, not the garlic to be roasted.
- Peel the carrots and coarsely chop.
- Rinse and chop up the fresh mushrooms.
- Add 20 g butter and 1 Tbsp olive oil to a large saucepan And bring to medium heat.
- Add the onions, leeks, and garlic and sauté until the onion becomes transparent (about 10 minutes).
- Add the carrots and fresh mushrooms and continue to sauté, stirring regularly.
- Add the dried porcini mushrooms to 1 cup of warm water and soak for 10 minutes.
- Drain the porcini mushrooms, trying to discard as much grit as possible.
- Add 8 cups water to the simmering vegetables.
- Add the porcini mushrooms.
- Add the bay leaves, parsley and thyme sprigs, and peppercorns.
- Bring to the boil, then reduce to a low simmer.
- Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- Cut off the pointy ends.
- Lay on a baking tray, cut ends up.
- Drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt.
- Roast in a 160 degC oven for 90 minutes.
Smoky grilled mushrooms
- Toss the cleaned and trimmed button mushrooms in olive oil.
- Lay stalk side down and sprinkle with smoked kelp.
- Lay the large mushrooms on a chopping board stalk side down.
- Slice vertically, into 5mm slices, being careful to keep the mushroom pieces together.
- Transfer the button mushrooms to a baking tray, stalk side down.
- Transfer the sliced large mushrooms to the baking tray, being careful to keep the mushroom intact.
- Top the large mushrooms with butter.
- Spray liquid smoke over all the mushrooms. Or use a food smoker if you have access to one.
- Roast for 50 minutes at 180 degC.
- Bring a pot of water to the boil
- Plunge the udon noodles into the water for 30 seconds.