Combine the boiling water and shiitake mushrooms in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes. Drain mushrooms, reserving liquid. Discard mushroom stems; slice mushroom caps, and set aside.
Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion and next 8 ingredients (onion through bay leaves); sauté 3 minutes. Add 4 cups water and broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add shiitake mushrooms, fresh mushrooms, salt, and pepper; cover and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
I made exact expect my little store didn't have dried shiitake mushrooms so I used dried portabello. I found it super bland and needed to add hot sauce to make it taste like something. I wish I would have wined it up like the other reviewer or could the mushroom substitution made that much difference? The recipe was unclear what to do with the mushroom juice so I added it with the broth.
This was excellent. I'm surprised it had no reviews. The recipe was a little vague in areas, such as what type of lentils to use, what to do with the reserved mushroom liquid and a couple of other minor things I noticed. I used about half red lentils (they tend to break down and thicken) and half brown lentils (they keep their shape and provide a nice texture). I used chardonnay to soak the mushrooms, then added it to the broth (there wasn't a whole lot left). Also, I sauteed the mushrooms in a tiny bit of butter and a tiny bit of chardonnay. After, I roughly cut them into chunks. I just didn't want the big ol' mushrooms in my chowder. The mushrooms I used were a mixture of shiitake & white. The chowder, itself turns out brothy, but really hearty with all of the grains, lentils & veggies. It's really lovely. I served it with a spinach & arugula salad, & crusty bread.
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