Charlie's Bird

living the dream with Charlie and Thandi and chirping all the way back to the nest.

Winter Food Series

…not with the greatest pictures, I’m afraid, but today I present my Mushroom Risotto. It’s a winter favourite of mine, and I love serving with a piece of grilled, marinated fillet. Risotto is not difficult, but can be a nightmare to get just right. Once you’ve mastered it though, it becomes a very versatile and often impressive dish. Fear not!

Ingredients – 100gm butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves crushed garlic

1 cup Arborio rice

125 ml white wine

1 litre vegetable stock

20 gm dried mushrooms, rehydrated in 50ml hot (not boiling) water

10 ml dried mixed herbs (experiment here, I like thyme especially)

2-3 punnets mixed mushrooms

50 gm grated parmesan cheese

Drizzle of truffle oil


Method – melt half the butter over a medium-high heat in a heavy based pot, fry off the onion and garlic until it is translucent, then add the rice, allowing it to absorb the oils and get glossy. Lower the heat of the pan, to medium to low. Deglaze the pan with white wine, stirring until it is absorbed. Now the work begins. Keep your stock boiling(I tend to keep it in a glass jug and just keep microwaving it to keep it hot, or else keep it boiling in a pot on the stove top), slowly add a couple of ladles at a time, stirring until the stock is all absorbed.  After the first dose of stock, I add my rehydrated mushrooms, which I have chopped up. I also strain and add the rehydrating liquid. Add the herbs. Continue adding stock and stirring slowly until it is absorbed, before adding the next ladle. Add the chopped mixed mushrooms when you maybe have 2 more doses of stock to go, that way, they maintain some texture and colour. Check your rice, it should be firm, but cooked through, not squishy though.

017Once ready, add most of the parmesan, the other 50 gm of butter, and stir through, just before serving, drizzle with the truffle oil (Careful! Not too much, it’s potent!) , sprinkle the remaining parmesan and a sprig of fresh thyme to make it pretty. Serve immediately onto a hot plate.



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