Mushroom Ketchup  – !!!  Read all instructions. This recipe takes THREE DAYS TO COMPLETE.

About 1 1/4 cup very hot water – close to boiling.

3 ounces dried porcini or dried shiitaki mushrooms.  (buy the big container at Costco or Sam’s Club, they are wonderful.)

1 1/2 pounds Italian or brown mushrooms

2 tablespoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (or sherry vinegar if you can find it)

1/4 cup dry sherry

1/2 teaspoon allspice, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground

1/4 teaspoon Angostura bitters (If you don’t have this on hand, use 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce)

1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce, Tabasco or Crystal or ??

1/4 cup of carmelized onions, the browner the better…..

Use filtered water if possible.  I find that I get the best results with it.

Put the filtered water in a one quart Pyrex measure and microwave until nearly boiling.

Break the dried shiitaki mushrooms into the hot water and weight them down with a saucer so they will be covered by the water.

Allow to stand for about 30 minute.  They should be soft.

Remove mushrooms from the liquid with a slotted spoon.

Filter the liquid using a paper coffee filter and save in the refrigerator tightly covered.

Chop the soaked mushrooms into small dice.  If the stems are too tough, discard them.

Quickly wash and drain the fresh mushrooms.

Place both types of mushrooms in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse several times until the mushrooms are finely chopped.

Turn the mixture out into a quart jar, add the salt and mix well.

Cover the container tightly and place in the refrigerator.

Keep refrigerated for 2 to 3 days, stirring once or twice a day or shake the jar vigorously.

Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl and line with a cotton dish towel (or a piece of washed, unbleached muslin).  Pour the mixture into the strainer and allow to drain, pressing on the mixture with the back of a spoon to express as much liquid as you can.

Gather the corners of the cloth and lift out of the strainer and twist to express even more liquid from the mushrooms.

When you have wrung out as much liquid as possible, don’t discard the mushrooms, set them aside.

Now strain the liquid through a paper coffee filter in a strainer into a saucepan, or saucier, about 1 1/2 to 2 quart.

Now add the liquid from soaking the porcini or shiitaki mushrooms

Place over low heat and bring to a simmer.

Add the remaining ingredients.

Simmer for about 40 minutes, uncovered.

Add the mushrooms and continue simmering at a gentle simmer for an additional 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat, allow to cool somewhat.

Pour into food processor and process for about a minute, stopping a couple of times to scrape the sides down so that everything is emulsified.  (you can also use a blender but do it in small batches)

Return to the saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring constantly.

Immediately pour into hot, sterlized 1/2 pint jars, cover, and cool.

Store in refrigerator or in the freezer if you won’t be using it up within a month.

Yield, about 2 1/2 cups.