Sunday, February 26, 2017

Savory Mushroom Broth

I owe this one to my friend Ben. He's a passionate vegan, and very fine host. He makes his broth from little more than an assortment of steeped mushrooms, but it's rich and punches you with umami. I've recreated it loosely many times since. The following recipe is very approximate. It's fun to play around with what goes into the broth itself, and then what accompanies it into the soup bowl. We use this for build-your-own ramen night. 

Savory Mushroom Broth:

*3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
*1 onion, chopped
*2 celery stalks, chopped
*3 garlic cloves, minced
*3-4 cups fresh mushrooms, assorted, chopped
*6 cups water
*4 whole peppercorns
*red wine
*sea salt

Heat olive oil or butter in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery and garlic. Saute until the onion is browned and translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute until tender. Transfer all contents of skillet (including any liquid) to a large soup pot, add water and peppercorns. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Season with small splashes of red wine and tamari to taste (keep in mind the salt in the tamari will intensify if you plan to reduce your broth). Lower heat to medium and simmer until broth reaches desired richness, 40 minutes to 2 hours. Adjust seasonings and add sea salt if needed. Strain broth through a sieve before serving.

Load soup bowls with cooked udon, scallions, cilantro, avocado, seaweed, soft boiled egg, poached fish, chili oil, etc. Pour hot broth over soup ingredients. Top with toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds. Serve.

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