Once you're made this broth, you can simply heat it and add any precooked ingredients you like: ravioli or tortellini, cooked dried beans, roasted or steamed root vegetables, or shredded pork or chicken. In spring, steamed baby turnips, carrots, beets, potatoes, and parsnips are particularly lovely along with a few tablespoons chopped fresh herbs, like flat-leaf parsley, chives, or chervil. Since all of these elements can be kept on hand almost indefinitely, once you've gotten your supplies you can make this broth at a moment's notice.

Makes 1 quart

    • 1 ounce dried porcini mushroom (about 1 cup)
    • 6 cups hot tap water
    • 1½ teaspoons unsalted butter
    • ½ teaspoons neutral vegetable oil
    • ½ cup coarsely chopped shallots (about 4)
    • 1 garlic clove, crushed
    • ½ cup Sercial or Rainwater Madeira wine
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tablespoon sweet white (shiro) miso paste
    • 1 tablespoon red (aka) miso paste

Place the dried mushrooms in a large bowl and cover with the hot water. Set aside to steep 20 minutes. In a large heavy saucepan, heat butter over moderate heat until it becomes amber-colored and smells like roasted nuts. Add the oil, shallot and garlic. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring frequently, until the shallots are translucent and golden brown, about five minutes.

Add the Madeira and bring to a boil over high heat until reduced by half, about five minutes. Add the mushrooms and their liquid, and the bay leaf. Simmer 30 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the white and red miso pastes until dissolved. Adjust the seasoning. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, pressing to extract all the liquid. To store, cool the broth and transfer to a plastic container; refrigerate up to four days or freeze up to two months.

To use the miso broth, heat over moderate heat until hot but not boiling. Add any precooked elements you wish, such as ravioli and other pastas, beans, vegetables, roasted meats or poultry, greens, or herbs. Heat until just warmed through and serve.

To read about how a miso tasting changed Sally's approach to this Japanese soup staple, click here.