Don’t throw away those Shiitake Stems

Shiitake mushrooms offer a robust, earthy flavor not found in everyday white button mushrooms. I recently bought fresh Shiitakes from Bluff City Fungi at the Cooper-Young Community Farmers Market to make a creamy mushroom sauce to serve over grilled beef filets.

Most recipes call for removal of the stems from shiitakes because of their tough and chewy texture, but save the stems to make a mushroom broth.

The stems cut from about 32 ounces of mushrooms can make about one to two cups of mushroom broth. To enrich their flavor, dehydrate the stems in a dehydrator or in a convection oven for 2-3 hours at 170F with the oven door held slightly open with a wooden spoon to allow evaporated moisture to escape.

Place the dried stems in a small pot with water, bring to boil, and then turn the temperature to simmer for at least 20 minutes. Filter the broth from the stems through cheese cloth or a coffee press.

The mushroom broth will add earthy flavors to risotto, soups, stews, gravies and pan sauces.

For this post, I include recipes for Shiitake Cream Sauce and Shiitake Broth.

Shiitake Cream Sauce

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp sweet cream butter
  • 2 small shallots or 1 large shallot, diced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 32 oz fresh Shiitake mushrooms, fully rinsed and stemmed (save stems for next recipe)
  • 1-2 tsp of any combination of dry thyme, marjoram, and tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Melt butter on medium heat in a Dutch oven or skillet. Add diced shallots and salt. Sauté until softened.
  2. Stir in Shiitake mushroom heads. Simmer and stir for 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in herbs and pepper. Add wine and deglaze mushroom fond from cooking surface. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
  4. Add cream and stir until sauce begins to bubble. Serve on steaks, chicken, white rice, or pasta.

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Shiitake Broth

  • Servings: 8
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Stems from 32 oz. of Shiitake mushrooms
  • 1-2 cups water

Directions:

  1. Make sure Shiitake stems are thoroughly cleaned and rinsed.
  2. Place stems in a metal drying rack over a baking sheet lined with a layer of paper towels.
  3. Place sheet in oven on convection setting heated to 170F for three hours with the oven door held slightly open with a wooden spoon to allow evaporated moisture to escape. Heat longer than three hours if your oven does not offer convection.
  4. Remove stems from oven. If storing, make sure they are completely dry and place in a sealed container after cooling.
  5. If ready to make broth, place the dried stems in a small pot with 1-2 cups water, bring to a boil, cover and then turn the temperature to simmer for at least 20 minutes.
  6. Filter the broth from the stems through cheese cloth or a coffee press. Freeze broth for long term storage if not using immediately.

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