Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 31: Wild Mushroom Stock

I made this Wild Mushroom Stock from The Greens Cook Book to use in tonight's Winter Vegetable Stew, but the book recommends the stock also for vegetable ragouts, mushroom pastas, and pilafs, or used in place of milk or cream in a sauce.  I only needed 3 cups for the stew so I'll freeze the rest to use in another dish.  It's hard to make stock look pretty or interesting.  Here's my best attempt.

I've never used dried porcini mushrooms but it was easy enough  -- just poured boiling water over the mushrooms and let it sit for a while.  I was a little taken aback when I poured the water over the mushrooms to find it had a strong beefy smell, and I found it kind of unpleasant.  (Okay, I confess, the smell actually made me think of canned dog food.)  For the optional ingredients:  I didn't add the fresh mushrooms, but I did add the leek greens.  I also followed the variation suggestion to caramelize the onions.

This was the quickest stock I've ever made -- took just under an hour to complete.

Wild Mushroom Stock
The Greens Cook Book
Yield:  6 to 8 cups

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced or chopped (optional)
2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium onion, chopped into 1/2 inch squares
1/2 cup leek greens, roughly chopped into 1 inch pieces (optional)
4 to 6 thyme branches or 1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 bay leaves
6 branches parsley, roughly chopped
3 sage leaves or large pinch dried sage
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp salt

     Cover the dried mushrooms with 1 cup hot water and set them aside.  Heat the olive oil in a soup pot, add the vegetables, herbs, garlic, salt, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.  Next add the dried mushrooms and their soaking liquid plus the 9 cups cold water, and bring to a boil; then simmer for 45 minutes.  Strain the stock through a fine meshed sieve.  Use it as is or return it to the stove and reduce it further to intensify the flavor as much as desired.  Generally it takes about 15 minutes at a slow boil to reduce the volume or liquid by 1 cup.
     Variation:  For a darker-colored stock, caramelize the onion separately first.  Heat the oil, add the onion , and cook it until it has turned a very dark brown, stirring occasionally at first, then more frequently as it gets darker.  Add the remaining ingredients plus the water, bring to a boil, cook as above, and strain.
9 cups cold water

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