The gastronomy from the Central states in Mexico has a rich variety of dishes based on the unique mushrooms grow in that area of the country. Places like the famous Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla National State Park, located west of Mexico City and East of Toluca, where the area known as “La Marquesa”is settled, wouldn’t be the same without this “Sopa de Hongos” (Mushroom Soup). That place “La Marquesa”, were families like to go on weekends to have a quiet and relaxing time surrounded by nature, offers an array of gastronomic dishes very popular and traditional like the lamb barbacoa, and the quesadillas made with blue corn masa, and, of course, mushroom soup. We used to live in Toluca and my husband commuted daily to work in Mexico City. And we loved to stop there early in the morning for breakfast or lunch depending the hour.
|Volcan, The Nevado de Toluca photo courtesy of Contrapapelnoticas.|
The weather in that area of Mexico is cool and humid, specially in the city of Toluca which is considered to be the coolest, largest city in the country due to its altitude of 8,793 ft above sea level. The weather and the Topography of this central part favor the production of diverse types of wild mushrooms. But most states from Hidalgo and Michoacán, and all the way south to Oaxaca and Chiapas, you will find local mushrooms so diverse in their form, size and color. Their use on regional cuisines is also different by zone, since they are cooked in soups, tamales, breads, salads, stews, etc., Wild mushrooms have been used in Mexico since Prehispanic times, not only for cooking but also for medicinal purposes and ceremonial rites.
|A small sample of some of Mexico's wild mushrooms for more pictures and information about them check this link: HERE|
Here is a sample of a few of the many types of mushrooms found in Central Mexico, must of them are known by the name of the area where they grow, or for their shape and color by the local people. Names like Blue, yellow, little bread, small nail, broom, bird’s feet, little belly, all delicious in soups, quesadillas and stews.
But now let's cook a comforting and healthy soup.
- 2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil or butter*
- 1/2 Cup white onion, finely diced.
- 2 garlic cloves, minced (small)
- 2 Guajiilo peppers, cleaned and deveined, cut into rings.
- 1 Pound mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 dozen squash blossoms, rinsed and chopped. (Optional)**
- 4 cups of Chicken broth
- 1 Epazote Branch, about 5 to 6 leaves.
- 1 Salt to taste
- * You can either use oil or butter to sauté the vegetables. I use 1 Tablespoons of each since butter gives a rich flavor to the soup.
- ** You can see that the soup also has squash blossoms, they are not a typical part of the soup but some cooks add them. I found these at my local farmer’s market, and since they were the last ones of the season, I didn’t want to pass the opportunity to use them for this dish.
- Maybe you can see that the Epazote leaves in the picture above are frozen. Since it is not easy to find them year around, I usually freeze them and use as needed. They hold their flavor much better this way than the dried Epazote found in some stores.
1. Heat oil or melt butter over medium heat in a medium size pot. Saute onion, garlic and guajillo pepper pieces in oil or butter over a medium for until onion is soft. About 2 minutes.
2. Add chopped mushrooms and squash blossoms, if using. Stir and cover the pot. Simmer until mushrooms are soft and had released some of it juices. About 4 – 5 minutes.
3. Stir in chicken broth and Epazote leaves, when soup starts simmering season with salt.
4. Keep simmering in a low heat for about 10 minutes to let the flavors blend.
Serve warm with corn tortillas or a crusty French bread.
This is a lovely soup, I am pretty sure your family will like it as much as mine does.