Forest flavours...

If you ever spy 'wild mushrooms' in your supermarket (personally I would never pick them myself unless on my way to a rave...) buy them. Then make a risotto with them. Its the only thing to do. Actually if you hold them up to your ear you can hear the sound of your own lips smacking - I do not lie - try it.

First its the smell, of woodland, of earth, that permeates through the house, then its the different textures, and tastes... The nutty cepe, the mild chanterelle, the lovely chewy porcini and my favorite the pretty fairylike parasol.

Bill asked our friend James over to watch some football last night, so I jumped at the opportunity to cook for him. As we all know, and are amused by, James' off the scale appreciation for anything a la fungi, I decided to make my wild mushroom risotto.

Its great because both Superquinn and Tesco do great mushroom mixes (Tesco do a gourmet selection) in their organics range so its not like you've to go out of your way, and I know most people are slightly intimidated by risotto, but really you don't know till you try. I avoided it for years and was raging when I finally gave it a go - its so easy, although you do need to stand over it and stir, stir, stir, that just takes an ability to daydream and/or chat to a willing companion - now it is a staple in our house, one we never tire of due to its versatility...

Find a basic recipe and use it everytime, adding the extras later... here is mine.

Basic risotto.

you'll need

200g arborio rice (or carnoli)
1 litre chicken stock.
1 glass white wine (also one for sipping on as it gets quite steamy)
Knob of butter
100gms ground parmesan
1 onion (as finely chopped as possible)
1 clove garlic (crushed)


Over a medium heat soften the onion and garlic in olive oil and then add half the butter and the rice. Stir constantly until the rice takes on an oily sheen. Add the glass of wine and reduce.

Add some stock, reduce. Continue adding stock and reducing for about 10/15 minutes and taste. If the rice has lost its 'grit' ie your teeth slide through, its done 'al dente'. Taste constantly until you enjoy the 'bite' and then remove from the heat. Risotto should have a consistency that spreads, when plopped into the bowl it takes on the shape of the bowl. When you are happy - season and add the rest of the butter and the cheese.

Then add whatever flavourings you fancy, cooked previously of course!

I added sauteed wild mushrooms with chives and curly leaf parsley. To serve I topped with creme fraiche and rocket leaves.
Some other suggestions are,
Roast squash and sage
Green Bean and chili
Pea and bacon


Emma said...

Wow! Wild mushrooms in the supermarket. I have actually had people at the checkouts here say to me, "what's this?" when I attempt to buy garlic or ginger or even courgette/zucchini. If it don't come in a box, it ain't fer eatin'

Lisa Conmara said...

Ha! I know the feeling - i had a really loud checkout girl feigning ignorance at the sight of a large aubergine I was buying "Jeeezoz wohs dah? Is dah some mad fruit is eh?, wha would ye do widdah?"