- 10 cups (approx. 2 lb) cremini mushrooms, cleaned and cut in half
- 6 to 8 cloves fresh garlic
- 1 to 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 2 tomatoes, roughly chopped (optional)
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tsp black peppercorns*
- sea salt, to taste*
- 3 to 4 lts water, for cooking the stock
NOTE: This recipe doesn’t actually need a recipe. You are essentially making a flavourful mushroom tea. The amount of mushrooms you use really doesn’t matter. If you only had 2 cups of mushrooms, you could make this recipe, it just depends on how much you want to make.
As for the garlic and onions, these play a supporting role to the mushrooms, so they should be scaled down or up, depending on how many mushrooms you use. The tomatoes simply add a bit more depth and flavor; however, the stock is perfectly delicious without them as well.
This is a great recipe to experiment with to see what you like. If you really like the earthiness of wild mushrooms, add some of those to the stock as well. If you are wanting to add a bit of an Asian flavor profile, add a bit of fresh ginger as well.
For the seasoning, this stock is meant to be quite neutral, but feel free to season it as you wish. Just keep in mind, when adding salt (and even pepper), that as the stock cooks and reduces it will become more concentrated, so don’t go too heavy on the seasoning, especially if you are planning to reduce it way down to create more of a sauce.
To make the stock, add all of the ingredients to a stockpot and cover with 1 1/2 times the amount of water to mushrooms. Basically, you want to fully cover the mushrooms, plus a bit more. The amount of water is not really exact — the less water that is added, the stronger the stock will be in the end. For this recipe, we generally use about 3 or 4 liters of water.
Bring the stock to a gentle boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for 1 to 2 hours. Taste the stock from time to time, once you have reached the desired flavor and the mushrooms have released all of their flavors, the stock is ready.
Lastly, strain the stock and taste for seasoning.
This stock will keep for several days in the refrigerator, or it can be frozen. Use this stock to cook things like soups or grains or simple pour it into a mug and drink it throughout the day. It makes for a healthy and satisfying alternative to coffee.
Note: What to do with the leftover vegetables? We do a second boil. By this I mean, we strain the stock and then do the whole process over again. The second stock won’t be as strong, but it’s great for cooking with. It can even be reduced, to concentrate the flavor — sometimes the second boil, once reduced, is so flavourful that we drink that too :-)
The amount this recipe makes really depends on how long the stock was cooked, how much water was added.
Depending on how the stock is intended to be used will also alter the cooking time. For example, if you desire a less concentrated or slightly weaker stock — for making soups, cooking grains etc. then you won’t have to cook the stock as long as if you wanted a stronger more concentrated stock — say for making sauces and/or drinking it like a tea.