Thursday, October 20, 2011
I'm a Little Weird...
I like to can. I just absolutely love to cook up a giant batch of something or other, pour it into jars and pressure cook the snot out of it. This year, I did three batches of jam, tomatoes, two kinds of pickles, and most recently, mushroom stock. It is so reassuring to know that I am saving food for my family for a year or more. And I use it. When I put stuff in the freezer it usually lives there until it grows fur and I throw it out. I've been doing the whole October Unprocessed thing this month and I decided it might be a great opportunity to put up some mushroom stock which I've always wanted to do but never got around to. This was so incredibly simple, I can't believe I haven't done it before.
3 large portobello mushroom caps
1/2 to 1 lb chanterelle mushrooms
3 medium carrots
1 large onion
4 large cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
1 sprig sage
4 sprigs rosemary
1 Tbs whole peppercorns
6 Quarts of water
Scant amount salt
Roughly chop mushrooms, onions and carrot. Put everything else in the pot whole and boil in 3 quarts of water until veggies are soft. Add remaining water and bring to a boil. Salt very sparingly.
In the mean time, prepare your pressure canner and canning jars.
Strain out veggies, catching soup in a large bowl. Press juice out of the veggies as much as possible using a wooden spoon or a potato masher. Place in jars and pressure can for 30 minutes. Yields about 6.5 pints.
I realized a few dozen soups or so ago that portobello mushrooms add a whole new dimension. They are so earthy and meaty they knock the socks off regular button mushrooms. If you don't want them to turn your soup dark, you can remove the gills, but I think it's unnecessary. I can't wait to use this stock in my next batch of soup. If you must, you can freeze this, just don't tell me. It might break my heart...
Speaking of soup and because I'm a little weird, I decided I couldn't bear to trash all those gorgeous mushrooms and veggies. It took a huge leap of imagination on my part, but I turned them into "Cream" of Mushroom soup! This whole "food blogger" thing isn't always kind to the ol' waistline, so instead of using cream, I tried non-fat milk. It wasn't bad at all!
"Cream" of Mushroom Soup
1 batch of left-over mushrooms and veggies, herb stems removed
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 C non-fat milk
2 C mushroom stock or water
Salt and Pepper
Heat veggies and garlic in water until it boils. Slowly add in milk, salt, and pepper. Purée. Serve with a big hunk of crusty bread and a little fresh or sour cream drizzled on top. Some fresh thyme would be nice, too if you've got any left.
Very nice. Make sure you cook down your garlic well, though. I didn't and the boys found it too hot.
I've got apple and pear sauces to put up yet this season. I believe I'll do a more in-depth tutorial on canning if you guys are interested...