Dashi, a flavorful, umami-packed broth, is a fundamental ingredient in many Japanese dishes. It's usually made with a combination of kombu (dried kelp), dried bonito flakes and iriko (dried anchovies). Shiitake mushrooms can also be added to the mix, resulting in a stunningly clear, clean broth.
For this broth, we put our own TT spin on a dashi made only with dried shiitake mushrooms that have been soaked in cold water overnight. They're then gently simmered with onions, leeks, garlic and herbs. What results is an umami-rich broth that is a tiny bit sweet with just the slightest touch of acidity coming from a strip of lemon.
To learn more, read "Shroom Service."
Shiitake Mushroom and Herb Broth
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
Yield: 4 cups
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours, plus soaking time
Total Time: 2 hours and 10 minutes, plus soaking time
40 dried shiitake mushrooms
½ medium yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 cup roughly chopped leeks (white and pale green parts)
1 head garlic, split crosswise
4 sprigs thyme
4 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
1-inch strip of lemon, peeled using a vegetable peeler
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1. In a large bowl, cover the shiitake mushrooms with 8 cups cold water. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or (preferably) overnight, making sure the mushrooms are completely submerged in the water.
2. Over a 4-quart saucepan, strain the shiitake mushrooms, reserving the liquid. Gently squeeze the mushrooms to drain any excess water. Remove the stems and reserve the mushrooms for another use.
3. Add the onions, leeks, garlic, thyme, parsley, bay leaf, lemon and peppercorns to the mushroom liquid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the broth is reduced by half, 2 hours. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl. Cover and chill until ready to use.