1 stalk lemongrass, chopped and crushed (see notes)
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Combine the dried porcini mushrooms and chicken stock in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Let the mushrooms reconstitute and infuse the stock, about 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the mushrooms. Reserve both mushrooms and liquid.
Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the leeks, parsnips, and chili pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the leeks are soft. Add the chicken stock, coconut milk, crushed lemongrass, garlic, and a ½ cup of the porcini mushroom liquid (see Kayla’s notes). Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer until the parsnips are tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the soup from the heat. Working in batches, use a blender or food processor to blend the soup until smooth and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Sauté the porcini mushrooms in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat, just a few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with the mushrooms. Serve warm.
Lemongrass is a stalky plant used in many Thai dishes. To use, remove the dry, outermost stalks. Cut the inner stalk into 3 inch pieces. “Crush” the pieces by smashing them with the side of your knife to release their lemony flavor.
The porcini mushroom liquid will contain some grit at the bottom of the saucepan that you don’t want in your soup. Be mindful of this as you retrieve a ½ cup of the liquid.