We've got a guest in our kitchen today... Everybody please welcome Derek from At Home Organic.
Derek runs an organic vegetable gardening company in Toronto, Ontario and is here today to sing the praises of the mushroom and share a delicious Mushroom Risotto recipe.
Hello I am Derek from At Home Organic Farms. We are a Toronto based organic vegetable gardening company that builds, installs and maintains organic vegetable gardens for homeowners, businesses, daycares and restaurants. Although my roots are in lawn care, like many before me I found myself in the corporate jungle, spending entirely too much time in office environments. I broke free and I have decided that I should share my passion for food and vegetable gardening with more people. My blog is where we write about green living, good food, growing your own veggies, recipes, sustainability, lessening our carbon footprint and food issues.
Mushrooms are awesome. There I said it, black ball beats them all, stamped it, no erasies. I have been eating them for years and years, but in the last 20 years I've been cooking and, more recently, foraging for them. I have a good buddy who grew up in the outskirts of Russia where foraging was a very important part of life and he showed me a lot about foraging for my own ‘shrooms. In the last six years we've foraged at least 20 milk crates full of wild mushrooms. We have a few spots near our favourite fishing holes that are loaded with wild mushrooms – we pick ‘em, eat ‘em (usually with potatoes, onions and garlic over a camp fire) and string the rest of them up for drying.
A note about the mushrooms you're eating (right now if you're my wife). I usually buy cremini mushrooms. They are the brown ones that are around the same price as the white button ones usually found next to them in markets and grocery stores. I find they have a good woodsy flavour that you don't get with the white button variety. Also, I can find them a little smaller so less chopping, but more cleaning. If I am going fancy I will use some dried porcini, fresh oyster, fresh king oyster, Portobello or anything other local variety I can get my hands on. If you're using Portobello’s I highly recommend scooping out the dark gills under the top before cooking –leaving them in will darken everything you're cooking. Also, when cooking, keep the pieces small; risotto is a dish I find is best eaten without a knife and fork so be sure to keep your veggies bite size.
Now for the good part – the risotto...
lots of mushrooms all kinds - if dried make sure to rehydrate first (15 minutes in a bowl of boiled water should do it)
then more mushrooms
2 garlic cloves
2 tsp. butter
A few pinches of salt
1/2 glass white wine (optional)
1L homemade chicken stock
1 cup Arborio rice
Fontina cheese - buy $10 worth - split into 5 portions - eat 2 portions while making the dish (you know you're going to) use the remaining 3 portions in the risotto
1 handful chopped basil
1. Put stock in pot and warm up on a back burner.
2. Get 2 sauté pans on the stove on medium heat.
3. Add some fat (your choice – I like butter or pork fat) to one of them.
4. Chop up the mushrooms and get them into a pan with the fat- salt ‘em.
5. Put 1 cup of rice into the dry pan and toast lightly.
6. Turn up the heat on the first pan to cook off the water when it sweats out of the ‘shrooms.
7. Once the rice has toasted a little (no more than 5 min) – add the wine and let that cook off then start adding stock -you could do about 4 ladles full at this point.
8. Cook off the mushrooms until all water has evaporated, turn off heat, add butter and garlic stir and let sit.
9. Continue babysitting the risotto – stirring, tasting, stirring etc. Add more stock when rice has absorbed it- your goal is not to add the full 1L you might not need it - the goal is to cook the rice.
10. Keep tasting the rice - when it’s almost al dente and you're adding the last ladle of stock add the mushrooms to the pan.
11. Once the rice is cooked to your liking – take off the heat - add the cheese and let melt a little – give a stir and a little chopped basil right before serving (if you have some truffle oil – drizzle that over top too).
12. Serve with garlic rubbed toast.
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Thanks so much Derek for being our guest.
Don't forget to follow Derek on his blog At Home Organic Farm and on Twitter.