A healthy selection of both fresh and dried mushroom varieties yields a light but richly flavorful consommé with a great depth of earthy qualities.
Generally made from meat broth or stocks, a consommé is a simple clarified soup with a light body but strong taste. Mushrooms can be used in a consommé as well as any bone-in piece of meat, just as they serve as a protein substitute in other dishes. Chicken stock is used here only as a fatty base to carry the flavors of the otherwise fat-free fungus.
Any dried mushrooms will do but a mix of varietals will provide a spectrum of individual flavors that knit together for greater depth. This combination uses porcini, shiitake, cremini, maitake and oyster as well as fresh cremini both as an ingredient and as a garnish. A single-species consommé will also work to spotlight the flavor of one particular mushroom.
Little else is needed to round out the soup as the flavors of dried mushrooms can be quite complex. Soy sauce plays off the soil and wood flavor elements of mushrooms, and a touch of lemon juice brightens the heavy darkness just enough to enjoy. Seasoning should be kept to an absolute minimum.
Garnish with chopped chives and fresh mushroom caps sliced paper-thin.
Dried Mushroom Consommé
1 oz dried mushrooms
4 oz cremini mushrooms (fresh)
4 c chicken stock
2 cloves of garlic
1 T soy sauce
1 T chives
1 Boil 2 c water and pour over the dried mushrooms to reconstitute. Let sit for 30 min.
2 Strain the mushrooms through cheesecloth, reserving the soaking liquid. Rinse the reconstituted mushrooms thoroughly.
3 Roughly chop half of the fresh mushrooms and mince the garlic.
4 Combine the chopped and reconstituted mushrooms with the garlic, soaking liquid, stock and 2 c fresh water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 30 min.
5 Strain out the solids and return the consommé to the pot. Add the soy sauce and lemon juice, and season to taste.