fresh shitake mushrooms
oil or butter
herbs, salt & pepper, soy sauce, vinegar

Boil up a pint of lentils in a couple quarts of water–1/2 – 3/4 hour.

Meanwhile, cut a couple of leeks in half lengthwise, wash them thoroughly in a sinkful of water, and chop crosswise, all the way through the green, into quarter or half inch bits. In a big kettle, fry the leek gently in a big lump of butter or fine olive oil (sesame oil would be excellent, I think); allow some of it to brown lightly, even caramelize onto the pan a bit.

Dump in the cooked lentils and enough water or vegetable broth to make it soupy. Season with a generous shake of cumin (about half a tablespoon), Italian herbs, and pepper. Dump in a small glug of soysauce and a small squirt of balsamic vinegar. A little dry sherry is very good.

At the end, quickly fry up a mess of shitakes in butter or oil and put them in the soup. Shitakes are rather expensive, but half a dozen don’t weigh very much. I cut them like a pie into eight or ten wedges, including a bit of stem on most of the pieces. Ordinary mushrooms can be used instead, though they don’t have the same exquisite fragrance.

This makes a family size pot of soup with some left for lunch.

Shared by Eleanor