Winter Melon and Mushroom Soup

This delicious soup features winter melon, bacon,  and a medley of fresh mushrooms to create a unique taste experience.  My family enjoys this soup all year round- even in the summer.  The melon is refreshing and it absorbs the flavors from the soup.

Winter melon, also known as Ash Gourd, or togan in Japanese, is a gourd has a green skin and is white inside.  The gourd has a very bland taste, but when cooked in a soup or with a stir fry it absorbs and complements the taste of the food.  Winter melon soup has a soft texture and is very refreshing to eat- and in Japan, winter melon stir fries are very popular in the summertime.

I love togan in soup, even on a hot day, because the togan is moist and absorbs the flavors of the soup,  it’s a very unique and delicious vegetable and I recommend you give it a try.

This is a wonderful soup if you like mushrooms- the togan soaks up the bacon flavor and complements the taste of mushrooms.

Winter Melon and Mushrooms Soup

An absolutely delicious meal, but choose your mushrooms wisely. Using a nice assortment of wild mushrooms will pay off when you taste it.  When making this recipe I always choose the freshest mushrooms I can find.  The recipe be,ow shows a sample, but feel free to use any mushrooms you can get your hands on.

Togan can be difficult to find.  Don’t be shy to go to your local Asian grocery and ask for it- they might just have some if you don’t see it.  And if not, ask them when it will be in or have them hold some for you.  It will be well worth the wait.

PREP COOKING YIELD
10 minutes 1 hour Serves 6
PREP 10 minutes
COOKING 1 hour
YIELD Serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb of your favorite assorted mushrooms or fungus (450g) – I use trumpets, shiitakes, white and brown cloud ears and enoki.
  • 5 cups of chicken stock
  • 2 lbs of winter melon
  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 lb smoked bacon
  • 2 TBSP fresh grated ginger – 1 20g piece
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  • Peel the melon, and remove the pulp and seeds from inside with a spoon.   Chop the melon into rectangles about 1/2 inch by 1 inch.  Peel and shred the ginger.  Chop the mushrooms removing any hard parts.  Dice the onion and the bacon into small pieces – about 1/2 inch cubes.

  • Sauté the bacon, onion, and ginger in a stockpot over medium high heat for 5 minutes.

  • Stir in the mushrooms and continue to sauté for 3 minutes until hot and well combined.

  • Add the winter melon and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes until all the ingredients are combined and hot throughout.  Then add the stock and salt into the pot.  Stir continuously and bring to a boil.

  • Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Serve and enjoy.

 

Notes:

  • Refrigerate unused soup for up to 5 days.

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