Posts tagged ‘Mushroom’

January 11, 2011

Winter Kitchen | Roasted Chestnut Risotto with Mushrooms

When the snow is swirling outside and you feel like spending a bit of time in a warm kitchen stirring leisurely, risotto is your answer.

I have a deep love for risottos.   It is an endlessly versatile dish, perfectly at home in any season.  A stock, some aromatics, and a bit of rice transforms into a bowl of comfort.

I have taken risotto on as the meal I would most like to perfect in my life.  Ultimately, I want mine to be able to stand up next to any Italian nonna’s.  Lofty dream, I know.   But it’s a life project.

One of the things that makes me almost endlessly sad is to see recipes for “risotto” that include copious amounts of butter or oil or cream.  Risotto should not be a excessively fatty dish.  It is, as I said, essentially stock and rice.  You add at the end a bit of Parmesan if you like, or alternately, depending on the combination of ingredients, a heaping tablespoon (at most) of perhaps some marscapone cheese (across four servings) .  The creaminess of the dish is almost entirely derived from the grains of rice giving up their starch.

Today’s risotto was a combination of roasted and chopped chestnuts, dried and fresh mushrooms and a lamb stock.  This happy combination was again facilitated by The Flavor Thesaurus.   I had lamb bones in the freezer from a roasted lamb shoulder, so it was easy to toss everything in a pot to simmer a stock in the afternoon.  A bit later on, I set a metal sieve over the pot and soaked some dried chanterelles to rehydrate them and add a further bit of meatiness to the stock.

When it was time for dinner, I sauteed some fresh mushrooms (a combination of oyster, portabella, and cremini) along with the rehydrated chanterelles that I chopped in a very hot pan with some olive oil and salt and pepper, almost like duxelles.  When these were brown, I put them in a bowl for later.  I added a sliced shallot to the pan, reduced the heat to medium and soften it a bit.  Then I added about a cup and a half of rice, cooked it for a minute then deglazed the pan with vermouth.  The rest of the cooking is almost identical to the recipes here and here.  I added in the mushrooms just before the last addition of the lamb stock to rewarm them.  PK tip:  Make sure you add a generous extra ladle full or two of stock just before serving.  You want it almost a bit too loose.  It sets up so quickly as you get it to the table and you want it to be spoon-able, not stiff.  The plate was garnished with a bit of thyme (lots in the stock) and grated Parmesan.

Playlist included Writing to Reach You, by Travis.

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December 16, 2010

South Texas Locavore | Mushrooms on Toast, Poached Backyard Egg

I am so happy to have a friend who is raising beautiful chickens.  Her name is Mylene, and her urban “farm” in a North San Antonio neighborhood produces all manner of vegetables and flowers, and as of November, the little jewels that star in this dish.  Upon arrival, I found her chickens happily pecking around Mackey Farms, softly clucking their pleasure.  Cherub had a fantastic time following them around and tempting them with deep green leaves of kale, like chicken catnip.  I had fun holding them and watching them.  It’s like an avian version of an aquarium.  But make no mistake, these birds aren’t a quirky diversion.  Just like the vegetables in her beds, they’re there to put food on her family’s table.

I will never, ever turn down a few fresh eggs.  I will honor every ounce of the effort that chicken gave to produce that egg and eat it with all the reverence of a holy meal.  So when she offered me five, including one that was laid while I visited, I knew exactly how I would use them – mushrooms on toast.  It’s a true bistro classic, elevated here by earthy Texas mushrooms and, of course, those transcendent eggs.  It’s a simple, humble dish – you can have it for lunch, you can have it with your tea.  Please, I urge you, try it.

Mushrooms on Toast with Poached Backyard Egg, Serves 2

4 cups of fresh, local mushrooms, diced.  I used 2 cups of crimini and 2 cups of shiitake.

1 shallot, finely diced

2 thick slices of the crusty bread of your choosing.  I used a buttermilk sourdough.

Vermouth, a splash

1 leaf of Texas sorrel, cut into ribbons, for garnish

1/2 t butter

olive oil, salt, pepper

2 beautiful Mackey Farms eggs

Coat the bottom of a large frying pan very generously with olive oil, and heat until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, allowing them to sear, about 3 minutes.  Deglaze with the vermouth.  Then add the chopped shallots and turn the heat to medium-low.  Season well with salt and pepper, and stir regularly for another 3-4 minutes.  This is a good time to make your toast.

Now poach the eggs for 2 1/2 – 3 minutes in simmering water – long enough from the white to be firm, but without cooking the yolk through.

Add the butter to your mushrooms and give it a stir to incorporate

Spoon the mushrooms onto your toast, and top it with the egg and a tiny sprinkle of sea salt.  Garnish with the sorrel ribbons.  There is no doubt you will enjoy this.

Playlist included Maybe Sparrow, by Neko Case.

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