Dried lactarius mushrooms make fantastic stocks and broths. Here I use it as the base of a very simple soup with diced shrimp mousse and vegetables, but you can add many different things to the basic recipe.
Snow is on the ground, and that means it's time to start working through the mushroom stash. The first thing in my queue was a simple broth with shrimp dumplings based on an old recipe I used to run as a deep fried fish cake appetizer.
Dried Milkcaps Make Exciting Stocks and Broths
I'd made this broth before, and my journal had an underlined note that said "tastes like chicken broth" or something like that. The flavor's a little hard to explain.
It's mushroomy, but mushroom flavor doesn't describe it well enough, that's like saying yogurt and cheddar taste similar because they're both made of milk. The flavor is definitely more toasty-nutty than it is deep and woodsy, which is how I'd describe most others used for broth, boletes being a good example.
Another good analogy would be that if dried porcini taste like beef, then dried lactarius taste like crustaceans, or fish. The milkcaps have a lighter weight on the palate, the flavor is completely different than what the words "mushroom broth" conjure up.
After learning from the time I threw away a batch of ischnoderma broth, this one I kept as simple as possible, and it worked great.
Only a few aromatic ingredients
A scroogy handful of scallion greens, some onion skins for color, a few leaves of celery, and, most importantly, a couple slices of fresh ginger, and salt until it was right, and that was it. (An inch of lemongrass would've been welcome too). After it was seasoned and cooling, I drank half of it straight away.
The next time you think about passing up on some milkcaps, you might consider drying them, and probably picking up a pack of ramen noodles on your way home, too.
Saffron Milk Cap or Lactarius Broth
- 1 3 quart sou pot
- 20 grams dried lactarius volemus or similar milkcaps such as Lactarius hygrophoroides
- The skin of a small yellow onion
- 1 small clove of garlic with skin
- ½ inch piece of ginger thinly sliced
- ¼ cup of chopped leek or scallion greens
- 1 four inch rib of celery
- 5 cups of water
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
- Very lightly toast the Lactarius, (or dehydrate at a high temperature) then combine with the remaining ingredients, cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for 30-45 minutes.
- Add the salt, stir to dissolve, taste and adjust as needed until it tastes good to you, cool to room temperature, strain and refrigerate.
- If your mushrooms were in attractive pieces, you can reserve them and add to the broth as a garnish.