It’s not about the money. Part I. 1


It’s about flavor. Lots and lots of flavor.

You’ve had mushroom soup fresh from the can or carton, right? The first thing you taste is salt. Lots and lots of salt. Then there is this vaguely earthy note. Is it mushrooms or just the packaging? If the soup is creamy, the salt is typically the only flavor to escape the overwhelming starchy, non-dairy-ness of the concoction.

I wanted real mushroom soup. Earthy and rich. I wanted to taste concentrated, slap-your-mama, fresh, mushroom flavor. I knew that a good soup recipe alone wouldn’t get me there. I needed the foundation of a rich, flavorful stock.

Knowing I was going to serve this up at Eastern Market on Saturday morning, I had a few constraints. No oven and little time. that meant no roasting the ingredients, and not enough time for a beef stock. Some quick sautéing started to provide rich flavor. MIso paste was a quick and serviceable substitute for beef and a splash of Madeira gave me depth. All that was left was mushrooms, and several cups of stem trimmings, along with some dried Porcinis did the trick.

Now, several cups of mushroom trimmings invariably come from lots of mushrooms. To save a few pennies, I bought some criminis and used the trimmings from the Shitake and Oyster mushrooms I used later in the soup. This stock isn’t cheap (nor is it outrageous) but it satisfyingly delivers every bit of flavor I have promised.

 

Rich Mushroom Stock

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 large carrot, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 2-3 cups chopped mushroom stems. I use Shitake, Oyster and Crimini
  • 2 tbs red miso paste
  • 1/2 cup Madeira
  • 1-2 oz dried Porcini mushrooms
  • 4-5 parsley stems
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Directions:

  • Sauté onions 2-3 minutes over medium heat in 1-2 tbs oil in a 4 quart saucepan
  • Add carrots and celery. Cook for another 5 minutes. There should start to be some browning on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add mushroom stems and cook until lightly browned.
  • Add miso paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
  • Add the Madeira. As it simmers, stir up the yummy, brown bits off the bottom of the pot. Reduce until almost evaporated.
  • Pour in 10 cups water, add Porcini, parsley, thyme and bay and simmer for 30-40 minutes, partially covered.
  • Strain through a colander, pressing on the solids to release their juices. Then discard solids.
  • Strain a final time through cheese cloth or a chinois. You should have 8-9 cups of stock for your mushroom soup.
This stock would also be wonderful for braising leeks, beef or chicken. Add some to a pan sauce next time you sauté pork chops.

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