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I have a Polish cookbook (translated to English) from the 1950's and most of their soup recipes contain a bunch of greens/veggies but it's not always clear if they are just to be used as flavor or as ingredients. For instance (partial recipe):

1/2 oz dried mushrooms
2 med. onions
1 leek
2 stalks celery
2 carrots
1 parsnip

Simmer mushrooms and vegetables until thoroughly done, about an hour. 
Cut mushrooms into thin strips and return to pot. 

This would imply to me that the other vegetables should be discarded. Is that accurate?

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Is the recipe named "mushroom soup" or something similar to imply the other vegetables are only there to flavor the broth? Is there another recipe in that book where the vegetables are processed and returned to the soup? If so, I would agree with your idea that those vegetables do not become part of the final product. – Kristina Lopez Jan 14 '13 at 2:00
It is "mushroom soup." I looked through other recipes and nothing is clear on whether things should be retained or not... – tpg2114 Jan 14 '13 at 2:20
My logic tells me that if 1) nobody told you to remove the vegetables and 2) you are only directed to cut and return the mushrooms, then the vegetables are supposed to remain in the pot the whole time, because nothing here says they have to be removed in the first place. I imagine that you first strained the soup and then fished the mushrooms out of the sieve, leaving you with a separate pile of vegetables, but this was not necessary what the recipe assumed. As for cooking guidelines, either will produce a good soup, with a different flavor, so no "right" or "wrong" way to do it. – rumtscho Jan 14 '13 at 13:21

When making soups, very few things ever need to be discarded (bay leaves or lemongrass come to mind as some that should be discarded when done). However, this recipe sounds like it means that when the vegetables are done, including the mushrooms, to pull out the mushrooms and cut them and return them to the pot (but this step seems very optional since it really won't affect anything other than the texture of the soup -- big chunks as opposed to bite-sized chunks of mushrooms).

Most of the other vegetables in this recipe are what are known as "aromatics" and they are usually used to start a soup and you definitely don't want to discard them when done. You can however carefully blend the soup to make the texture smoother and creamier if you desire (or leave them as is for a rustic-style soup).

Other greens that sometimes are better when added during the last 10-30 minutes of cooking time are leafy greens like kale, parsley, etc. because the reduced cooking time will leave them brighter green than if they had been in the pot the whole time.

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