Maitake, or hen of the woods, mushrooms are one of the northeast and midwests most prized flavors of Fall. Wild-foraged maitake almost always have superior flavor to the cultivated varieties, and can be found in huge quantities through much of October-November growing around the base of trees, usually White Oak. Maitake has been well-studied for its effects on the immune-system, cancer, and insulin sensitivity.
We usually think of white-wine and sherry as proper deglazing liquids for mushrooms. Maitake is one of the mushrooms that takes to beer quite nicely.
Maitakes aren’t available year-round from Mycopolitan. However, 9 months of the year we have King Trumpets available, which when torn apart instead of chopped, mimic Maitake quite well. Trumpet texture is superior in my opinion- flavor is milder but similar in its “poultry-esque-ness”
This soup is one of my favorite fall treats. Some of the ingredients are rather expensive, however you may consider charging your neighbors an exorbitant fee to enjoy a bowl of hot mushroom soup on a cool fall night to cover costs.
Maitake+Trippel+Chevre Soup (vegetarian)
1.5 lbs fresh chopped maitake mushrooms
½ oz dried porcini musrhooms
1 pint of beer, preferably Belgian trippel or similarly complex, non-hoppy beer
8 medium sized shallots
2 cloves of garlic
4 diced carrots
3 diced celery stalks
1 diced medium sized whole fennel
3 bay leaves
¼ cup chevre goat cheese
¼ cup heavy cream
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
Dash of cayenne (optional)
3 twigs of tarragon
Handful of parsley
Soak Porcini in enough beer to cover the mushrooms. It will take up to 30 minutes to reconstitute dried porcini.
In a large soup pot or dutch oven, heat to medium, then add butter, shallots, carrots, celery, fennel, bay leaves and salt
When shallots have become translucent, add the chopped maitake mushrooms. Stir every few minutes for 20 minutes, allowing the maitake to slightly caramelize as they cook through.
Turn heat up to high and add the water, beer, and the reconstituted porcini/beer liquid. When it reaches a simmer, turn down the heat and cook for another 20 minutes to develop the broth.
When you can taste all of the vegetables in the broth, cut the heat and stir in the cream and goat cheese . Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon, and Cayenne to taste. Pull the bay leaves.
Finally, add the minced tarragon and parsley Or sprinkle the minced herbs over the serving bowls.
Enjoy with a nice thick piece of sourdough and tall glass of Trippel.