#1 NYT bestselling author Linda Lael Miller

Mushroom Broth Ingredients and..What is Paleo, Anyway?

As I’ve mentioned, I like to cook free-style, so while I always use certain basic ingredients in my broths–I have a double-batch simmering away in my giant slow cooker at this very moment–I almost never follow exact measurements when making this kind of food.  

For mushroom broth, I use: several large onions, with the peels removed, chopped in quarters.  I add carrots, celery, a few bay leaves, fresh thyme, black peppercorns, and flavored salt–I love the alderwood-smoked variety.  Then I add three or four different varieties of mushroom–Marco Carnora’s “Brodo” cookbook calls for cremini, shiitake, and dried porcini, and his recipes are my favorites, hands down.  One of you kindly–and correctly–pointed out that cremini mushrooms are also known as ‘baby bellas’.  (If left to grow long enough, they turn into portobellos.)  Carnora recommends browning the onions in olive oil before putting them into the stock-pot or slow-cooker, and I’ve found this to be good advice.  The amount of mushrooms you would use would, of course, depend on how much broth you want to have at the end, and how rich you want it to be.  Add cold water to cover.  Boil for 40 minutes or so, with the lid off.  Use a skimmer to remove impurities–the foam that forms at the top of the broth.  Simmer for a couple of hours.    Finally, scoop out the mushrooms and vegetables and set them aside.  Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer, NOT a colander.  Let it cool for 20 minutes, then pour into containers.  I use wide-mouth jars and leave at least two inches of breathing room at the top of the jar.  I froze mine, though I added the overflow to last weekend’s medicinal chicken soup and it’s delicious.  According to Mr. Carnora, broth will keep for about five days in the fridge, and six months in the freezer.  I do the same with bone broth, which is such a staple in my kitchen that I never allow myself to run out of it.  Again, “Brodo: a bone broth cookbook”, by Marco Carnora, is the best I’ve found on the subject, and I highly recommend it.

I had planned to make mushroom risotto with my mushroom broth, but now that I’m eating Paleo, I won’t be having rice for a while.  That’s okay, because this stuff is marvelous when added to other dishes, or used as a soup base.  Because at least one of you asked what Paleo is, here’s my understanding.  (Remember, I’m a novice.)  Paleo is short for ‘paleolithic’, and it is also known as the Caveman diet (I hate the word ‘diet’, except when it refers to a way of eating, and not a way to get back into your skinny jeans), which means that if the hunter-gatherers of yore couldn’t hunt or forage for the food in question, you shouldn’t eat it.  Now, I’ve been hearing about Paleo for years, and, frankly, I thought it sounded pretty darn stupid.  Discovering bone broth, a staple with Paleo, made me curious, so I investigated.  As so often happens when I pooh-pooh something I know little or nothing about, I was in for some big surprises.  Essentially, Paleo is about eating real food, rather than the heavily processed concoctions that are doing so much harm to so many of us.  Fats and proteins were vilified for many years, as many of you know, and that’s a pity, because the body (and especially the brain) needs healthy fats.  Basically, there is a lot of strong scientific evidence that highly-refined grains, like refined sugar, are actually quite harmful.  On Paleo, I eat lots of meat, chicken and wild-caught fish, along with root vegetables, like sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.  (I love to add rutabagas and parsnips to my bone broth).  I avoid white flour, refined white sugar, and anything with gluten.  

I have a good friend who is has celiac disease; gluten makes her VERY ill.  (It’s found in virtually all flours, even whole wheat.)  Turns out, gluten can cause a whole slew of problems for anyone, whether they’ve been diagnosed as gluten-intolerant or not.  For the real nitty-gritty, read “Grain Brain”, by David Purlmutter, M.D.  By the time I finished that book–long before, actually–I had made the decision to stay away from gluten for the rest of my life.  It can wreak havoc in the human brain, and since there are no obvious symptoms, the damage is done before the patient even knows there’s a problem.  Dr. Purlmutter is a neurologist, and he’s had patients come to him after being diagnosed with ultra-serious diseases like ALS and MS and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.  When gluten was removed from their diets, a great many of these people recovered completely.  Gluten can cause brain fog, forgetfulness, behavior problems in children and adults, migraines, muscle pain–I could go on and on.  You’ve probably noticed how many gluten-free products are showing up on supermarket shelves these days–it’s wicked stuff, and it hides in unexpected places, like ketchup, for heavens sake.  Read those labels, and if you want to stay sharp, stay away from anything that contains gluten.  This is doable, my friends.  There are numerous excellent books and blogs on the subjects of Paleo and gluten-free food, and Pinterest is positively popping with wonderful recipes.  

All that said, I would remind you that no one way of eating is right for everyone.  I have always loved meat and vegetables of all sorts, and after just a few days, I’ve noticed a big improvement in my energy levels, my ability to concentrate, and the way I feel in general.  I can deal with gluten-free bread, etc.   I always feel better if I get plenty of protein and not so many carbohydrates, but you may be different.  My cousin, for instance, LOVES bread, and probably couldn’t give it up or swap it out for gluten-free.  She lives on carbs and has trouble digesting meat.  The bottom line, I suppose, is that we all have to do our homework and figure out what works best for us.  

And, as I have said before, I have no intention of leaving Weight Watchers.  I need the accountability and the wonderful people I meet there.

Finally, there seems to be some confusion about who is moving to San Diego.  :)  My daughter, Wendy, and her partner, Jeremy, are headed for sunny California.  Jen, aka Super Jen, is my niece and assistant.  I’m glad to say, she isn’t going anywhere.

22 comments to “Mushroom Broth Ingredients and..What is Paleo, Anyway?”

  1. Gloria Herring
      · December 6th, 2016 at 11:25 pm · Link

    I hope you’re having a good week, and enjoying your soups.

  2. Pat
      · December 6th, 2016 at 11:56 pm · Link

    Several years ago when I was commuting to college I’d listen to NPR radio. One of the guests stated that if sugar came on the market today people would need a prescription to get it because of its adverse effects on the body.

  3. Louise McCourt
      · December 7th, 2016 at 2:12 am · Link

    Six years ago I had to go to the doctor(first time in years) and I weighed in at 254 lbs. The doctor told me I was a walking heart attack because all my counts were sky high. I lost 56lbs in less than a year by giving up whites(bread, potatoes, etc), potato chips, fried food and cokes. I now try to stay at 145, but the holidays really challenge me. I am also down to 1 prescription pill a day instead of 7. It is hard to do, but it is worth it.

  4. Jane
      · December 7th, 2016 at 5:50 am · Link

    I’ll have to check out bone broth. I have been trying to follow the 5-2 eating pattern. Some weeks are more successful than others. Sounds like your changes have been beneficial.

  5. Lois Rotella
      · December 7th, 2016 at 6:17 am · Link

    I am not of a bread eater. I really don’t like mushrooms. I like the idea of bone broth. I will have to give that a try.

  6. Melaine
      · December 7th, 2016 at 8:46 am · Link

    Thank you for the information on the mushroom broth. I hesitate to call it a recipe since, as you so amply explained, the ingredients and portions change from one time to the next. My way of cooking, too.

    Merry Christmas!

  7. Pamela Devereux
      · December 7th, 2016 at 8:51 am · Link

    Glad to hear Jen is staying with you. She is your right arm. You are right. You have to decide which is the best way for you. What might work for some may not work for others. Find your balance.

  8. Ruby Norwood
      · December 7th, 2016 at 8:54 am · Link

    Wow Linda, you aren’t only a wonderful Author, sounds like you are a great cook also. I am so glad super Jen isn’t going anywhere, don’t know how I got her mixed up with Wendy leaving , guess I had a brain wave that day.. Happy hump everyone!!!

  9. Virginia Horton
      · December 7th, 2016 at 9:04 am · Link

    I am so glad Jen is staying, you couldn’t do without her. You will still miss your daughter I am sure.

  10. Judy
      · December 7th, 2016 at 12:53 pm · Link

    You probably know this, but don’t put canning jars in a pressure cooker that have been in the freezer. They crack. I bought some jars from a neighbor and when I opened the caner :wink: several had broken. Needless to say it was a hard lesson. I’ve been using the plastic canning jars to save my leftover soup in the freezer and frig.

  11. Leanna
      · December 7th, 2016 at 12:57 pm · Link

    Your mushroom broth sounds great!

  12. Deborah Nelson
      · December 7th, 2016 at 1:35 pm · Link

    Thanks for all the nutritional info.

  13. Elaine Key
      · December 7th, 2016 at 1:46 pm · Link

    I feel better when I eat vegetarian. Unfortunately my husband is a carnivore. Also I’m confused on what beans are loaded with protein and not carbs. Can you help me with this?

  14. Juanita Rice
      · December 7th, 2016 at 3:53 pm · Link

    Wild caught fish for sure!! You really don’t want to know what farmed fish are fed. If available I will pay more for troll caught wild salmon. Also, I was very disappointed when I learned tilapia is almost always farmed. We don’t eat it anymore.
    I haven’t purchased canned vegetables in years. Too much salt. We use mostly fresh veggies and sometimes frozen. The freezer is full of chicken, some fish, and a little beef. It’s a wonder hubby and I don’t sprout feathers! We need a fish or beef break once in awhile. :)

    MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours, Linda.

  15. Alice Sapp
      · December 7th, 2016 at 3:57 pm · Link

    I have had celiac disease since 2008. Even a little gluten sets me off,very sick. So I have a grocery guide book, my Bible when I go grocery shopping. Good luck with going gluten free. Gluten can crop-up in the strangest foods.

  16. Debra
      · December 7th, 2016 at 6:21 pm · Link

    I have considered the Paleo for a while now. Just need to learn to live without chocolate! I’m going to seriously try to do this. Merry Christmas!

  17. Rita Crofoot
      · December 7th, 2016 at 7:36 pm · Link

    thanks for the recipe, this certainly looks good and doable, I am starting with the bone broth, but would certainly do this one too.

  18. Ann Bartholomew
      · December 8th, 2016 at 12:52 am · Link

    I noticed you use shitake mushrooms in the broth. It is a very good anti-cancer food. A friend from church regularly brought me shitakes while I was having chemo. My husband and I like them grilled best.

  19. Patti
      · December 8th, 2016 at 5:42 am · Link

    I have been gluten-free for a long time. I wanted to add a caution about gluten free flour. I had a gluten free brownie mix that I liked and a gluten free bread but I had trouble because they seemed to get bogged down in my digestive tract. My chiropractor said it was because potato flour is so fine. She suggested I add some high fiber oat bran to the brownie mix. I have not yet tried it because I am doing better at staying away from white sugar.

  20. Jean Browning
      · December 8th, 2016 at 12:01 pm · Link

    Hi Linda, In a recent blog you mentioned reading books about
    an eleven year old girl. I thought i saved that particular blog page
    but of course I cannot find it now. As I have an eleven year old granddaughter that loves to read I thought how appropriate that would be for my granddaughter especially with Christmas fast approaching. Amazon to the rescue of course. So please what are the names again of the books? With great appreciation to you,
    I remain your humble reader, Jean Browning.
    Keep writing and Happy eating,
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

  21. Diane Sallans
      · December 8th, 2016 at 1:09 pm · Link

    I’ve been very interested in this Paleo idea – and I Love mushrooms – winter is a great time of year to try new warm & cozy foods.

  22. Marge
      · December 8th, 2016 at 2:19 pm · Link

    Linda, now I am hungry but I don’t know what to eat after all this information. I guess I have to wait and digest all this good info. I will absolutely Check out Mr Carnora’s cookbooks.
    Thanks for the recipes.

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