Saturday, 22 June 2013

Mushroom risotto

I. Love. Mushrooms. It took me a while to warm to them but I sure have been busy making up for the lost time. In my dreams I hop and skip in the woods with an elegant wicker basket dangling off my arm, stumbling upon magnificently meaty delicacies that I then turn into treats raved by my dinner guests.

Of course this fantasy is somewhat clouded by the fact that I would not even know where those mushroom-housing woods can be found and the only wild mushroom I'd even recognize is the one that kills you. After a bout of severe sickness and horrid hallucinations. So, I have no choice but to satisfy my hunting and gathering instincts either at the market in Malaga or in the supermarket.

One of my absolute favourite uses for mushrooms is risotto. You can use pretty much any mushrooms for it, but I find the best risotto is a result of a blend of different mushrooms. This time mine was a mix of portobello, brown button mushrooms and Japanese mushrooms the name of which I forgot to write down (but they looked like enokitaki).

For those who the mere idea of making risotto fills with dread: no need. As long as you remember these few things, you're all set. Make sure you get the right rice. Rices are different and Uncle Ben's just won't do. Keep the stock hot in another pot as you make the risotto. Keep stirring. Leisurely though. Only add the next ladel of stock as the previous one has absorbed. Keep the texture loose.


As a main this feeds 3-4, as a side (depending on the portion size) this is enough for 5-6.

appr. 300 g mushrooms 
100 g bacon cubes
3 shallots or 1 regular, smallish onion
4 dl risotto rice
1 dl white wine
1-1,2 l chicken stock
(parmesan for those who like cheese)

Slice the mushrooms and fry in a hot pan. Once the liquid has evaporated and they have a bit of colour, add a knob of butter which will infuse them with flavour, but also gives them a nice sheen.

In another pan fry the bacon until crisp. Then add finely chopped onions and a bit of butter. Once the onion is translucent then add rice. Let cook for a while until translucent and then add the wine. Once it has been absorbed, start adding stock one ladel at a time, only adding the next one after the previous has been absorbed. Continue, stirring, until the rice is creamy and cooked to your liking - about 20-30 minutes. The texture should be loose.

Add a couple of thyme sprigs, a knob of butter and (if you want) a handful of parmesan. The fold in the mushrooms and voilá - that's another food fear conquered!

It is delicious as it is, but also works wonderfully with chocolatey oxtail...

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