Mushroom Stock

MAKES: about 6 cups

TIME: About 1 hour

Mushroom stock has a pronounced mushroom flavor that might compete with other ingredients; for most of the soups in this chapter, you will probably want to use one of the preceding three vegetable stocks or plain water. But when there are mushrooms in the soup, or if you plan to use the stock as the foundation for a richly flavored sauce, this is the recipe to turn to.

2 tablespoons neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn

1 small onion, 2 shallots, or 1 leek, well washed and sliced

2 carrots, chopped

2 celery stalks, chopped Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound white mushrooms, chopped into small pieces

1 ounce dried shiitake, porcini, or Chinese mushrooms or a combination

10 to 20 parsley stems or stems with leaves

2 bay leaves (optional)

01 Put half the oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the carrots and celery and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, another 10 minutes or so. Remove with a slotted spoon.

02 Put the remaining oil in the pan, turn the heat to high, and when the oil is hot, add the white mushrooms. Cook, stirring, until they give up their juices and begin to brown well, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, then add the dried mushrooms and cooked vegetables and stir.

03 Stir in 2 quarts water, along with the parsley and bay leaves if you are using them. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the stock bubbles vigorously. Cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are very soft and the stock has reduced slightly, about 30 minutes. Strain and use or store.