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Asian Mushrooms and Leek Soup

1/2 oz Dried porcini or shiitake mushrooms
3 tb Vegetable oil
2 md Shallots, minced
1 lg Leek white and tender green halved lengthwise thinly sliced crosswise
4 oz White mushrooms stems discarded caps thinly sliced
1 tb Ginger, minced
1/2 ts Madras curry powder
6 c Vegetable stock
1/2 c Unsweetened coconut milk
1 ts Cornstarch
Coarse salt
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 lb Wild mushrooms pref chanterelles thinly sliced
1 tb Lemongrass, minced tender white bulb only
1 tb Lemon juice
1 tb Chives, coarsely chopped

In a small bowl, cover the dried mushrooms with hot water and let soak until softened, about 30 min. Drain and rinse off any grit. Discard the stems and thinly slice the mushrooms if necessary.

Heat 1 tbs vegetable oil in a large saucepan. Add the shallots and cook over high heat, stirring, until lightly browned, about 2 min. Add the leek, white and dried mushrooms, ginger and curry powder and cook over moderate heat, stirring, for 3 min. Pour in the vegetable stock and coconut milk and bring to a boil.

In a bowl, blend the cornstarch with 1 tbs water until smooth. Stir the paste into the soup and bring to a boil over moderately high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 min. Season with salt and pepper.

Can be prepared to this point and refrigerated for 2 days. Rewarm before proceeding.

Heat the remaining 2 tbs vegetable oil in a medium skillet. Add the wild mushrooms and saute over high heat until softened, about 2 min. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide the sauteed mushrooms among 4-6 bowls. Stir the lemongrass and lemon juice into the soup. Ladle the soup into the bowls and garnish with the chopped chives.

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