You’ve heard me rave a few times recently about a marvelous, simple mushroom consommé from the cookbook Unplugged Kitchen, by Viana Laplace. Well, I made it again tonight, and it is so straightforward and gratifying, I thought I should provide a few more details.
I almost always use 3-4 mushroom varieties. Quantities can easily be adjusted. This version used about 3/4 of a package (5-6 oz.) of Cremini mushrooms, about 4 oz. of Shitakes (stems removed), and two medium sized Portobello caps. These were sliced (not too thinly), tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, spread on roasting trays, and roasted at 425 º F. until lightly browned. In the meantime I took a handful of the best dried Italian porcini and soaked them in 12 oz. of warm water for 1/2 hour.
When the mushrooms were ready, I placed the cooked ones in a small soup pot. The porcini were drained, with the liquid reserved, then chopped and added to the pot with their liquid. I added another 3-4 cups of spring water to the pot, brought it to a boil, and then simmered — uncovered — for an hour and a half, until the liquid was reasonably concentrated. You can just feel the rich flavor in the photo below.
I strained out the mushrooms and saved them in a dish for later use in the salad, enhanced with a little lemon juice, olive oil and salt. I poured the broth through a fine strainer into a Pyrex 2-cup measuring bowl and saved it until ready for dinner. It is quickly reheated (microwave or small saucepan, as you prefer), then poured into porcelain espresso cups and served.
All of this, of course, was motivated by my wine selection for the evening. It was a bottle of Linne Calodo 2011 Nemesis, just released last Fall. It’s a stunning blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, and Grenache, and it just calls out for the richness of this dish.
This all went with a superb salad that Barbara put together, a fine ending for a day which included plowing another 10″ of snow and ice from the driveway, and having our wood-burning stove and flue pipes cleaned for the rest of the winter. Oh, yes, and I graded a few papers and Barbara did some quilting along the way.