The next challenge was Jamie at Home, a very down-to-earth and seasonal cookbook. I went straight to the autumn recipes, to be able to get the ingredients which were in season already. I was drawn to the mushroom risotto – I love eating it even though I’ve never cooked risotto. Knowing it’s not easy, I was aware that it would test my patience more than anything else… 🙂 The extra challenge was to add something red so… BACON! It’s red enough…
Smoked bacon, chopped into small cubes
1,5 litres hot chicken stock
0,5 kilo of mushrooms (no champignons! I used chanterelle)
1 small onion, chopped into small pieces
2 celery (I’m not too fond of celery so I used 3 spring onions)
400g Risotto Rice
150ml white wine
2 handful grated parmesan (about 100g)
This time, I learned I need to label the things I froze… What I thought was chicken stock was actually pepper sauce… Anyway, onto the recipe.
Bring the chicken stock to the boil and keep it on the heat so it keeps bubbling. Clean the mushrooms, chop a small handful and put the rest aside. In a big pot, heat up olive oil, add the onions and spring onions and sweat them for about 10 minutes without them getting brown. Turn up the temperature, add the risotto rice and stir it all through.
Add the wine and stir until the rice has absorbed the fluid completely. Then add the finely chopped mushrooms and salt. Reduce the heat again.
Now the biggest challenge starts – at least it was for me – which has to do with patience. Add a ladle full of stock to the rice and stir until it has absorbed the liquid completely. This now goes on for at least half an hour. Always adding only a ladle full of stock and stirring until the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. The rice is done when it’s still firm but not hard in the middle.
Cut the rest of the mushrooms in half or smaller, depending on the size, and fry them in a separate pan. Add the bacon, salt, pepper and parsley to the mushrooms. They will lose a lot of water so you might want to drain them a bit whilst frying them.
When the risotto is done, take it from the heat, add the butter and most of the parmesan and mix it through properly. Leave some over to sprinkle over the top. The rice should be creamy and you can add more stock if necessary. Put a lid on the pot and let the risotto sit for about 5 minutes. Then try it, maybe add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Put the risotto in a soup plate and add the fried mushrooms with a bit of parmesan over the top.
This recipe really tested my patience. I should have taken even more time, but the rice was really good. Maybe a tiny bit longer on the stirring side. The risotto tasted fantastic, all around. It wouldn’t necessarily NEED the bacon and the original recipe didn’t have it either, but it added an extra nice flavour to it. The mushrooms in the rice itself gave it a great flavour. With rice and good flavourful mushrooms even I can go vegetarian. So far, Mick was always the risotto cook, mainly because he has more experience and patience. Nevertheless, I was very happy with the result and would surely make it again. Maybe experiment more next time. A fantastic autumn recipe, all around!