Remember that non-homogenized cream I mentioned in my last post? I used it tonight in making this risotto, served with chicken and more mushrooms plus steamed snap peas.
Risotto Ingredients:1 cup brown short grain rice 3-4 cups water/broth/wine, hot 1 cup chopped onion 1-2 cloves garlic 10-15 morel mushrooms, sliced lengthwise and rinsed
several sprigs of fresh thyme 2 tablespoons butter Heavy cream Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated olive oil, salt & pepper
Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil in a heavy pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until fragrant then toss in onions. Cook 3-4 minutes until onions are softened but not browning. Add rice and continue to cook another 1-2 minutes. Add approximately one cup of the broth or wine to the pan, stirring constantly. Let the liquid mostly absorb then add the next cup of broth. Continue until the rice is softened to your liking (we like al dente rice so 3 1/2 cups of broth/water worked great).
After you add the last cup of broth or water, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a separate pan over medium-high heat. Add thyme, stripping it off the stems. When the butter is melted, add the morel mushrooms and saute, seasoning with a bit of salt and pepper.
When the last cup of broth is almost completely absorbed, add the morels and any juice or butter in the pan to the rice. Allow the rice and mushrooms to cook together a few minutes then remove from the heat.
Stir in a couple handfuls of cheese (or 1 handful if its grated) and about 1/4 cup of the heavy cream. Mix until the cheese melts. Add more cream based on desired consistency, season with salt and pepper. Dig in!
To make the accompanying chicken with mushrooms:
Ingredients:2 chicken breasts, tenderloin removed, pounded to an even 1/2 inch thickness if necessary 1 cup of shiitake mushrooms sliced (stems removed) 1/2 cup small diced onion 1 tablespoon butter olive oil, salt & pepper smoked paprika fresh thyme garlic balsamic vinegar
Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add about 1 clove of mashed garlic. Season chicken breasts with salt, pepper and smoked paprika. Saute about 5 minutes per side until golden. Remove chicken to plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Splash a little balsamic vinegar in the pan to deglaze then add the onions. Turn up the heat and cook until the onions get soft and most of the liquid is gone. Add shiitake mushrooms and about 1/8 cup of water or broth. Cook until the mushrooms and onions are soft and golden brown. Add 1-2 tablespoons of cold butter to the pan to thicken the sauce. Return the chicken to the pan, turn to coat and keep warm until the risotto is done.
- Rinse your morels after slicing them; grit and small bugs can sometime be trapped inside. Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Taste the rice before you add the cheese and cream. You may need to add more broth and continue cooking until it reaches your desired consistency. Expect it to take at least 45 minutes but an hour is more reasonable.
- I strongly encourage using a combination of wine and broth for the cooking liquid. A medium-bodied Chardonnay with just a little oak would be a good choice. Red wines work great, if you don’t mind red rice. Avoid really crisp whites. Any sort of broth will work, match it to whatever else you are making. Tonight, no wine on hand so I used vegetable broth and 3/4 cup of water.
- I used 2 pans for this meal: cooked the rice in one while in the other, I sauteed the chicken then the mushroom/onion mix. I put the chicken and mushroom/onions on a plate, covered in foil then wiped out the pan to cook the morels. I didn’t clean the pan so the morels probably benefited from some of the chicken/onion/mushroom bits but I don’t think it was signficant. After I added the morels to the risotto, I put the chicken and onion/mushroom mix back in the pan and added the butter to create a sauce then kept it warm while the rice finished.
- Dish up your servings then quickly put the rest in the fridge. Not for food safety- to guarantee leftovers for tomorrow! Chris went back for seconds before he finished his chicken.
Again, Chris’s verdict is that I could make this a couple times a week. Its getting easier to cook for him since he keeps telling me that. I can also make turkey tacos and Turkey-Mushroom Noodle Goodness and Balsamic Chicken (recipe coming soon) on a weekly basis. With leftovers, that just about covers 7 days.