Servings: 4 servings
- ½ ounce dried mushrooms – I used shiitakes.
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary – or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 cup boiling water
- 5 cloves garlic, divided – mince 3 cloves and leave 2 whole
- ⅓ cup raw cashews
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 1 ½ pounds mixed fresh mushrooms, cut into thick/chunky slices – remove any woody stems
- 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into coins or half moons
- 1 ½ pounds yellow potatoes, cut into large, equal-sized pieces
- 3 to 4 cups vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons mellow white miso, optional
Place the dried mushrooms and rosemary in a bowl, and cover with 1 cup of boiling water. Set aside to steep.
Preheat a large soup pot over medium heat. Cook the onion and the fresh mushrooms for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add a generous pinch of salt once you hear the mushrooms sizzling (releasing moisture). Add the carrots and garlic, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. The mixture should still be fairly moist from the mushrooms, not dry.
Pour the steeped mushroom-rosemary mixture (including the water) into a high-speed blender (see Notes). Add the cashews and 2 whole cloves of garlic. Blend until completely smooth.
To the soup pot add the potatoes, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, contents of the blender, and 3 cups broth. If needed, pour some broth into the blender to help remove all of the mushroom-cashew mixture.
Make sure the potatoes are submerged, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the potatoes are barely fork tender, about 10 minutes (possibly less, depending on their size). Stir in the balsamic vinegar, and increase heat to return to a simmer. Cook uncovered for another 5 minutes or until the stew has thickened and reduced slightly.
Turn off the heat and taste for seasoning. If including miso, scoop about ⅓ cup of the liquid part of the stew into a bowl, whisk in the miso until dissolved, and add to the pot. Serve hot with crusty bread and a side salad.
If not using a high-speed blender, soak the cashews overnight to help soften them for blending. Or soak them in hot water for 2 to 3 hours. Drain before adding to the blender.
Store mushroom stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To freeze, allow to cool completely, transfer to a freezer-safe container, and freeze for up to 2 months.