*Photo Credit: Kita Centella
Have you ever had a cup of tea that tastes less like a tea and more like liquid campfire? The tea I’m referring to is Russian Caravan, a tea blend that contains black tea leaves (called Lapsang Souchong) that have been smoked over a pine fire.
Alone, Lapsang Souchong is incredibly intense and smoky, and because of this, many people prefer the milder Russian Caravan, which also contains un-smoked black and oolong teas to add balance to the intense smoky flavor of Lapsang Souchong.
For drinking, Lapsang Souchong definitely not “my cup of tea”. However, I do love to cook with it.
Lapsang Souchong tea adds a natural smoke flavor and rich earthy depth to soups, sauces, and marinades. This smoke flavor pairs well with mushrooms, onion, and garlic in one of my favorite fall recipes: Smoky Mushroom Soup.
You don’t want to dump all of the ingredients together in the pot at once; instead, we’re going to layer in the ingredients, which builds the flavor.
Treat the salt proportions as suggestions that can be adjusted to suit your taste. Start with the low end and add more until you love it.
You will need:
- 2 lbs mushrooms (crimini or button), sliced
- 1 medium to large onion, finely diced
- 6 stalks celery, diced
- 8 whole garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 2 – 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, diced
- 32 oz vegetable broth
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ to 1 teaspoon good salt (or to taste)
- 1 – 3 teaspoons Braggs aminos (or tamari sauce), or more, or less, to taste
- fresh herb mix, finely chopped all together; remove the leaves from the stems before chopping
- 1 small sprig fresh sage leaves
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 large sprig fresh thyme
- 1/4 bunch flat Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup roasted pecans, coarsely chopped (skip this if you need to avoid nuts)
- 2 heaping teaspoons Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
- 2/3 cup freshly boiled water
- 3 tablespoons flavorful olive oil or grass-fed butter
In a large stainless steel pot, warm the oil (or butter,) then add the garlic, onions, and celery. Sprinkle with salt, and let cook, stirring frequently until the vegetables begin to sweat.
Add the mushrooms to the pot and sprinkle in more salt. Stir well, and reduce the heat to low.
While the mushrooms cook, make the Lapsang Souchong tea concentrate by steeping 2 tablespoons of Lapsang Souchong in 2/3 cup freshly boiled water for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Set a timer so it doesn’t over-brew and become bitter. If it does, toss it and start a fresh batch (and pay attention this time). Strain out the tea leaves and set the tea aside.
Check on the mushrooms and veggies in the pot. They should be simmering in a juice of their own making at this point.
Stir in the diced potatoes, the Lapsang Souchong tea concentrate, most of your vegetable broth, and 1 teaspoon of the Braggs aminos. Taste and correct the salt level by adding more Braggs if needed. Add in the pecans and half of the chopped fresh herbs, and cover the pot to allow the potatoes to cook. Feel free to add the rest of the vegetable broth at this point; how much you add will depend on how thick you like your soup.
When the potatoes are tender, taste to adjust the seasoning. Stir in the coconut milk and add the remainder of the fresh herb mix, minus a tablespoon to use as a garnish when serving. You can add a bit of fresh pop by garnishing with a sprinkling of freshly chopped green onions.
Serve in your favorite bowls with your favorite salad and enjoy with your favorite people.
This is one of my fall favorites, and would love to hear yours! Feel free to comment, like, and share. We love your feedback.