There's been a nasty feverish cold going around and today Sadananda felt sick, so I wanted to make something really healing. Shitake mushrooms are famous for their antiviral effects. And we had some nice baby beets too, an important food for detox. One of our graduates, Mahmoud, is a keen gardener and often stops by with offerings from his garden. We still had the baby beets from his last visit. So this is how I was inspired to create Roasted Beet and Shitake Soup!
1 lb baby beets, washed and trimmed
2-4 oz shitake mushrooms as desired, coarsely chopped
2 cloves garlic
6 slices fresh ginger
8 cups boiling vegetable stock
Salt, pepper & dried dill to taste
Preheat oven to 425'F. Place beets, garlic and ginger in a baking dish and brush with olive oil. Bake for 20 minutes, then turn down to 375'F and continue baking until soft enough to blend, about another 20 minutes. (Note, you may need to remove the garlic earlier. I did not do so and the soup got a slight bitter taste from blackened garlic! Also, if not using baby beets, you may want to cube then before roasting, or else allow more time for them to roast).
Bend the roasted veggies into the boiling vegetable stock in a blender or using an immersion blender. Add salt, pepper and dried dill to taste.
Stir fry the chopped shitakes in olive oil until browned. (Personally I like to use a mix of oil and butter because it browns them better.)
Add the shitakes to the hot soup. For a crispy garnish, add at the last minute; if you want them softer and to infuse some of the shitake essence into the soup, simmer for a while longer.
You can also garnish with yoghurt, fresh dill or parsley.
Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.
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