You may substitute any fresh herb for a Parsley Sauce. Other dried mushrooms can also be used, but none will give the intensity of porcini. You will simply have a milder flavored soup.
When buying mushrooms leveled “cepes” or “porcini”, let your nose lead you. The mushrooms should have a rich, woodsy character with overtones of leather. Dried ceps or porcini are very easy to use. Just pop them into a long-cooking stew and let them cast their magic. Or cover the mushrooms with water, bring to boil, simmer them, and watch the liquid become black with richness. Use that liquid as the base of a soup or sauce. This will make the liquid much more flavorful. Remember, the magic is in the liquid, not the reconstituted mushroom.
The recipe from A Cook’s Book of Mushrooms
Cream of Rice Soup with Curry, Mushrooms, and Roasted Red Pepper Puree
- 1 cup basmati rice, rinsed well
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini or any other mushrooms you prefer
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 1/2 small onion, thinly sliced
- 2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 2 cups of milk
- 3 Tbsp Red Pepper Puree
- For the Red Pepper Puree:
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 2 tsp sugar
- salt to taste
- For the Parsley Sauce:
- 1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 1/2 tsp vinegar
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- Vietnamese fish sauce (available in Asian markets) to taste
Bring 5 cups of water to a boil in a large pot. Add the rice while stirring, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, place 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Add mushrooms, salt, sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, onion, curry powder, and paprika. Bring to boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
To make the Pepper Puree:
preheat the broiler. Place the pepper in a pan and put it in the broiler. Broil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the skin shrivels and begins to blacken. Place in a paper bag and let cool. Peel the skin entirely from the pepper, then slit it open and remove the stem, seeds, and veins. Place the roaster pepper in a food processor and add the lemon juice, sugar, and salt. Blend to a smooth puree. Set aside.
To make the Parsley Sauce:
in a food processor, combine the parsley, 2 tablespoons water, and the vinegar until pureed. Pour into a medium saucepan and add the cream. Bring to a simmer and add fish sauce to taste. Keep warm.
Combine the cooked rice with its liquid, the mushroom mixture with its liquid, and the milk in a blender. Blend until smooth, adding more milk if necessary and adjusting for salt. Stir in the red pepper puree.
Put into bowls and swirl a teaspoon of herb sauce in each.