A risotto seems the most obvious dish to make when cooking with mushrooms, wild or cultivated. Unadventurous? Perhaps a little. Quite delicious? Most certainly. So, why try something new when the humble risotto tastes so very good? This was exactly my thinking after my first real mushroom bounty of the autumn.
I spent most of the day yesterday cycling around country lanes in deepest, darkest Kent in the freezing cold and pouring rain, searching the surrounding woodland for mushrooms. It was so worth it. Here’s what I found;
|A mushroom menagerie|
Top left/middle – Cep/Porcini/Penny Bun (depending on where you are from - French/Italian/English. I prefer Porcini) // Boletus edulis
Bottom left – Yellow Swamp Brittegill // Russula claroflava
Middle – Beefsteak Fungus // Fistulina hepatica
Middle bottom – Amethyst Deceiver // Laccaria amethystina
Top right – Orange Oak Bolete // Leccinum auranticacum
Bottom right – Chanterelle // Cantharellus cibarius
I wanted my risotto to be a thing of luxury, so went for the two tastiest mushrooms as the main ingredients – the Chanterelle and Porcini, both highly prized at markets throughout Europe. The Amethyst Deceivers were used only for colour, as they taste of very little, but keep their impressive purple colour if only cooked for a short period.
The Orange Oak Bolete and excess Porcini were dried, the Yellow Swamp Brittegill was had for breakfast along with some Field Mushrooms, and the Beefsteak Fungus was made into a slightly more unusual fungal treat – recipe to follow.
|This poor slug's Porcini dinner was cut short...|
I don’t have exact quantities for this recipe, was a bit of this and a bit of that, y’know.
- Arborio rice, ~100g per person (150g if you are feeling particularly devilish)
- Stock (I rehydrated some dried Oak Boletes I picked a few weeks back and added some Porcini stock cube)
- Knob of butter
- Dash of white wine
- Mushrooms, of course
You’ll need one saucepan and two frying pans for this. Get the stock heating up in the saucepan whilst doing your prep. Fry the onions and garlic in butter until translucent, then add the rice, coating it in all the buttery, oniony, garlicy juices. After 30 seconds or so, add a good glug of white wine. Once the rice has absorbed all the wine, start adding the stock and stirring regularly.
|Dried Oak Boletes flavouring the stock|
Try your rice every so often, when it has five or ten minutes left to go, fry your Chanterelles and Porcini (leave a few big slices back) with a bit of butter in the other pan (I added another shallot at this point as I’d been rather mean first time round). Add the mushrooms, along with the raw Amethyst Deceivers, in with the rice and season. The reason the Amethyst Deceivers don’t get fried beforehand is because they loose their vivid purple colour when cooked for too long, so only need a little heating up.
Now for the best bit. Heat up the pan you have just fried the mushrooms in so it is smoking, add some butter and a dash of oil so as to not burn the butter. Put in your reserved slices of Porcini, fry until golden and crispy on both sides and season.
Plate up the risotto with the crispy Porcini slices taking pride of place on top. Delicious!