Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Dried Mushroom Stock

Just because dried mushroom stock is easy doesn't mean it's unimpressive. And the character of the stock varies dramatically with the character of the mushrooms you use. I'll use the shaggy parasols (pictured above) we collected with Dougal and Deidre to make a stock for a mushroom soup. Sure, you don't have to use a stock for mushroom soup, but if you do, its flavours will be more layered and complex.

You can use dried porcini to make very rich stocks for soups and risottos, and dried shitake mushrooms to make stocks for japanese style broths. Porcini and shitake are the most common mushrooms used for stocks, probably because they're both very flavourful. But I'm sure there are others you could try, once you get adventurous.

Making Porcini Stock

Making stock from porcini requires different techniques to making stock from shitake. Paula Wolfert recommends soaking 1/2 cup dried porcini with a pinch of sugar or salt (to draw the flavour out, I think) in 1 cup warm water overnight.

The next day, drain the porcini by lifting them out of the liquid without stirring up any sediment that might have settled, gently press them dry and chop them finely. Sieve the remaining liquid to remove any grit, preferably through a coffee filter. Recombine the solid and liquid parts if you like, or use them separately (you can, for instance, sweat the chopped porcini with onions at the beginning of a soup or risotto).

What you now have is a very concentrated stock that you can weaken with filtered water to taste. It's always best to make stocks without the ingredients swimming in excess water. If they do swim, the stock remains insipid regardless of how you try to concentrate it later.

If you forget to soak the porcini the night before, you can soak the mushrooms in near boiling water 30 minutes before you need them, but the flavour will be a little coarser. Porcini like to be treated gently.

Shitake, on the other hand, do well with a good simmering, and are one of three ingredients that when combined, make the classic dashi broth. But I'll save this for my next post.


  1. Just thinking about mushroom stock sounds delicious. Would love to make some.

  2. And I'll get onto the other stocks soon, I promise, plus a mushroom risotto to use this porcini stock with... Christmas and -15 C weather is tiring me out!

  3. interesting. i've never seen anything except meat stocks and veggie stocks making use of many veggies, not just one. i'll bet this is absolutely delicious!

  4. It is seriously deliciously, you're right. And I will get onto the applications of it, and some other really simple stocks soon. It's just, well, I've seriously lost my appetite in the last week (morning sickness!).

  5. I have actually been thinking about doing this ever since I discovered your blog earlier this month. I keep coming back to this post in particular because I usually make vegetable stock (being a vegetarian) but never considered making mushroom stock. I see the dried mushroom packages at the local Asia Laden and always want to buy them. Glad you found my blog because I am glad I found yours.

  6. Porcini stock makes the most awesome risotto- pinenuts, a nice wilted green, some freshly sauteed mushrooms (in butter and garlic)...

    But if you're heading for the Asia Laden, you're probably finding shitake (amongst other things), and that calls for a dashi... do you eat fish (dashi needs bonita flakes)?

    I'm so glad I could imagine these scenarios without throwing up! (my unfortunate state of morning sickness persists...)

    I look forward to more food talk and getting into some bread making!