Mushroom soup

Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Mom’s shitake mushroom and spinach soup

Boost your soup’s healing power, flavor, and presentation

Turn your Cinderella leftovers into a healing soup stock fit for a princess.  Here are a few magical ways to take my basic recipe for garbage soup and boost the healing power of your bone broths.

  • Add cloves – Toss a few of these into the soup pot along with some black peppercorns and the result is a spicy, flavorful broth with extra kick. Cloves are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and great for the immune system. They are a must in cold and flu season.
  • Sprinkle in seaweed – Your thyroid  will thank you for the iodine kick they provide. Add a few strips of dried dulse or kelp to the bones before the soup comes to a boil.
  • Vinegar is vitalIt increases the soup’s concentration of minerals from the bones. Use about two tablespoons per gallon of broth. Any good vinegar will do – apple cider,  balsamic or even red wine vinegar. Stay away from plain white vinegar, though, because it apparently results in a bitter broth. Lemon and wine, both also acidic, could likely do the job, too.
  • Go heavy on the garlic and onions – These veggies are especially important  to ward off the cold/flu, because garlic and onion are legendary immune system boosters. Use at least two large white onions and a whole bulb of garlic. Just score the sides of the bulb, smash it a bit and chuck it in.
  • Roast the bones – If you have the time before making your stock, roast the bones and veggies in a hot oven for 30 minutes. It heightens the brown color and boosts the flavor.

Wave your wand, throw these tidbits into the cauldron, and simmer up some good health. As a tasty snack, eat your stock cold out of the fridge while it’s like a jelly. Or use your bone broth to make a beautiful soup by adding fresh veggies, legumes and other goodies, just like Mom did.

Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Remembering Mom

I found one of Mom’s favorite soups clipped from a magazine and hidden among the pages of a cherished family cookbook. She dressed up her homemade soup stock  with shiitake mushrooms and chopped spinach.

But what made this soup Mom’s own was the carrot flowers. Nothing pleased her more than a pretty presentation. These cute flower coins took this soup well out of the ordinary.

The crowning touch was a drop of good sherry added at the table. Mom’s dinner parties were always something people looked forward to.

Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Shitakes and flower carrots make this soup special

Mom’s party soup
Shiitake mushroom and spinach soup
serves 2 for lunch

  • 1 cup rich, homemade beef broth of the type described above
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 ounces (50 grams) shiitake mushrooms, brushed clean and finely sliced
  • 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped and packed down
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and left unpeeled
  • Dry sherry [or lemon juice for folks who can’t drink alcohol]
Adela's shitake and spinach party soup

Carrot flowers!

Carrot flowers

  1. Use the sharp tip of a clean bottle opener to make five grooves lengthwise down the side of the carrot.
  2. Slice the carrot into thin coins to get pretty flower shapes.


  1. In a large saucepan add carrot flowers to the broth and bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium.
  2. When carrots are tender, about 10 minutes, add the mushrooms and spinach. Cover and cook another 2 minutes.
  3. Divide into 2 bowls for lunch or 4 bowls for a dinner appetizer.
  4. Add 1 tablespoon dry sherry to each bowl at the table.


Del, Sharon and Heather with Lestors at McKenzie King Estate

Happy Mother’s Day!

Related link

  • Garbage soup – Soup basics: Make soup every day from whatever you have in the fridge.

6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. peasantfoodie
    May 08, 2013 @ 09:47:06

    Many useful tips! I find it fascinating that you have your degree in food science!


    • Vinny Grette
      May 08, 2013 @ 14:38:09

      I wanted to be a chef, but my dad talked me out of it. Food science was the next best thing. Probably just as well. Chef’s hours are brutal – and I’d have wanted to serve only healthy food: “No coke for you young man. We serve 1% milk and mango juice, only.”


  2. mycookinglifebypatty
    May 07, 2013 @ 22:59:25

    Very nice! I have never tried putting cloves in soup but that is intriguing.


    • Vinny Grette
      May 08, 2013 @ 14:43:36

      This idea was gleaned from the blog I referenced, Patty. She is a great cook and her food is full of spice. I love that the cloves are also a source of good health 🙂


  3. johnnysenough hepburn
    May 07, 2013 @ 19:11:13

    Didn’t realise that about using vinegar. Always good to know!


    • Vinny Grette
      May 07, 2013 @ 19:29:54

      Hi Johnny’s enough – I only learned the vinegar trick recently, myself. But it explains why lemon, beer and wine are so often used in stews. It’s not only for the flavor. Or perhaps the good flavor is what signals healthy eating!


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