Restorative Mushroom Broth

Recipe and photo contributed by Ame Gilbert Yield:  4 one-cup servings (1 quart total)
Prep Time:  20 minutes Cook Time:  1 hour

Restorative Mushroom Broth

This broth is an antidote for daily life. It’s also excellent as part of any cleanse.

Ingredients

1 ounce mixed dried mushrooms

1 cup hot water

1 tablespoon bourbon

6 cups vegetable broth

2 shallots, peeled and cut in half

1 pound mixed fresh mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, shiitake), rinsed and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped

1 celery stalk, fibrous strings removed, roughly chopped

4 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons caramelized onions (see Kitchen Tip #2)

Instructions

  1. Soak dried mushrooms in the water and bourbon 30 minutes, then drain, reserving soaking liquid. Rinse the drained mushrooms briefly under cold water and roughly chop. Strain soaking liquid through a coffee filter or unbleached paper towel.
  2. Add all the ingredients, including the strained soaking liquid, to a saucepan and simmer for 1 hour. Strain, pressing on the mushrooms with the back of a spoon to extract as much broth as possible. There should be about 4 cups broth. Reserve solids for another use. (See Kitchen Tip #3.)

Kitchen Tips

  1. This vegetarian bouillon is light yet flavorful. Feel free to sprinkle each bowl with freshly minced herbs such as chives, parsley, or dill. For a more substantial dish, serve with a few boiled tortellini in each bowl, or a ½ cup of cubed, boiled root vegetables.
  2. From Ame’s kitchen: Caramelized onions add sweetness and color to the broth. I keep a batch in my freezer ready to use. Thinly slice 4 large onions (around 6 cups) and sauté in a pan with a small amount of oil over medium heat, stirring often, until they caramelize, about 45 minutes, to yield 1½ cups. If onions begin to brown too quickly, add 1 tablespoon of water to the pan as needed until onions are a golden, nutty brown. (Take care: sweet caramelized onions can turn to bitter burnt onions in a flash). Divide cooked onions between the compartments of an ice cube tray (around 1 tablespoon per compartment) and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic bag and keep in the freezer for later use.
  3. After straining the broth, the mushrooms are too wonderful and flavorful to discard. Possible uses include: adding to tomato sauce, tossing with chopped tomatoes to make a “ragu” for polenta, stirring into custard to fill a quiche. The mushrooms can be frozen for later use.

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