Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Mushroom Stock:

Ever So Magical

Let me start this post with something corny. What did one mushroom say about the other mushroom?........"He's a fungi to be with."  Ba Dum Tshhhh!

Now get up off the floor from laughing so hard. Really. It wasn't that funny. What's the matter with you?

Mushrooms. What can I say about mushrooms....ummmm....they rock. Plain and simple. However, they are the subject of epic battles between my better half and I. She does not prefer them, to say the very, VERY least. In fact, "does not prefer" doesn't quite capture her true feelings about them. A better illustration might involve a photo of her (cute) crinkled nose, squinted eyes, her tongue hanging out, coupled with this sound: "Blechh!" However, for me, as a now vegetarian and former meat freak, the hearty flavor they impart always seems to satisfy that crave for something "meaty". I dunno, let's call it umami. Yeah, that's a good word for it. Hence, they're essential in filling that gap. But who am I kidding? I loved them as a meat eater as well. I'm no stranger to a mushroom burger, let me assure you. 

The more I distance myself from the world of prepackaged and processed foods, the more I enjoy exploring the world of scratch cooking. For example, you can use canned stock for any dish that calls for stock. And store-bought stock is fine, it'll get you there. But the problem with that is that you never really have a true understanding of your creation. I mean from the ground up. It's missing that extra little bit of love that the dish deserves. You see, each and every dish you make will soak in all the love you can give it. It'll add that element of freshness to your meal. Of personal satisfaction. A certain sense of accomplishment. And the best part of the whole thing is that all the love you put into it is only on loan. Trust me. At the dinner table, you'll get every bit of it back. I think McCartney said it best: "In the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make". Not sure if he was talking about mushroom stock but, hey, stranger things have happened, right? 

This is my personal hybrid of about 20 different recipes. It's a great combo of all ingredients. However, as with any recipe, you should feel free to fool around with it all.  Especially the mushrooms. You may question why I only use button and crimini mushrooms (which I understand are basically the same vegetable). And that's valid. In this recipe I used a half and half combo of crimini and white button mushrooms. Why? First of all, I'm whimsical, unpredictable, and most desirably enigmatic. In fact, I'm downright irresistible. But you already knew this. And if, perchance, you didn't already know, read this post again, at which time you will have read this post already and, therefore, already know. What? I'm confusing me.

Secondly, I'm not a multi-millionaire. Let's face it, shrooms ain't cheap. You can get just where you need to be by using the common mushroom. If you want to add shiitake, portabella, porcini, enoki, oyster, morel, etc, by all means, go ahead. It's your thang. But to spend $20 bucks on two quarts of stock might be a bit pricey for most folk (such as myself). I like the $10 dollar range a tad bit better.

Mushroom Stock


  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed, and sliced crosswise into 1-inch pieces (white and pale green parts only)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, large dice
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 6 clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 pounds white/crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 6 Italian parsley sprigs, chopped
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (2 tsp dried rosemary)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup Marsala wine
  • 12 cups water


1. Heat the oil in a large heavy bottomed pot over a medium heat until shimmering. Add the carrots, leek, onion, and celery. Stir frequently until onions and leeks are softened, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 1 minute. 

2. Add the mushrooms, parsley, chives, rosemary, thyme, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to release some moisture, about 4 minutes. 

3. Add the Marsala and cook until evaporated, about 5 minutes. 

4. Add the water and bring to a boil. Drop the heat and simmer until the stock is reduced to 8 cups, approximately 1 hour to an 1 hour and 20 minutes. Strain the stock, preferably using a chinois. If not, line a strainer with cheese cloth and strain the liquid. Press the solids with large spoon to extract the final liquids / flavor. 

Yield: 8 cups 


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