Wild Mushroom Risotto

Since we’re cutting out a lot of butter, cheese, and booze next week to get “healthier”, I thought I’d go ahead and make some stuff that’s really bad for us this week. Enter: Jamie Oliver’s risotto. Oh.My.God. I got the Jamie Oliver’s Italy cookbook last year for Xmas, and I just haven’t gotten around to making much out of it because all of the recipes are so damn rich. But oh my GOD this was so good. You basically make the White Risotto recipe and then roast some mushrooms and garlic and add in at the end. Here’s the basic recipe which is simply FABULOUS on its own:

Risotto Bianco

2 pints stock (chicken, fish, or vegetable, as appropriate)
2 tablespoons olive oil
a dollop of butter
1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 a head of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
2 cups risotto (Arborio) rice
2 wineglasses of dry white vermouth (dry Martini or Noilly Prat) or dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
5 tablespoons butter
4 oz. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Stage 1: Heat the stock. Put the olive oil and butter into a separate pan, add the onion, garlic, and celery, and cook very slowly for about 15 minutes without coloring. This is called a soffrito. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat.

Stage 2: The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the vermouth or wine and keep stirring—it will smell fantastic. Any harsh alcohol flavors will evaporate and leave the rice with a tasty essence.

Stage 3: Once the vermouth or wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the creamy starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes. Taste the rice to check if it’s cooked. If not, carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. Don’t forget to check the seasoning carefully. If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked, add some boiling water.

Stage 4: Remove from the heat and add the butter and Parmesan. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow it to sit for 2 minutes. This is the most important part of making the perfect risotto, as this is when it becomes amazingly creamy and oozy like it should be. Eat it as soon as possible, while it retains its beautiful texture.

So if you’re going to add mushrooms, you take about 6 oz of chopped assorted mushrooms along with about a head of garlic and saute them when you hit the end of Stage 3.  Saute for about 2 minutes in an oven-proof  pan with some olive oil, butter, and thyme, and then pop them in a 400 degree oven for about 6-7 minutes.  Chop them up and add about half when you hit Stage 4, and then add the rest over the top of each individual serving.  And then die and go to heaven.

Published in: on December 30, 2008 at 3:09 am  Leave a Comment  
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Chicken a la King

I’m not a big fan of Rachel Ray, but I tried this one years ago and actually liked it a lot.  I happened to have all of the ingredients on hand and it’s totally easy, so voila!  Dinner!

Long Live the Chicken a la King

1 tube jumbo bake-off biscuits (recommended: Pillsbury brand “Grands”), available on dairy aisle
A sprinkle cayenne (spicy) or sweet paprika (mild) (I always forget this part)
1 cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
4 pieces boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used thighs)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small white onion, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons chopped pimentos (I didn’t have any so I didn’t use them)
1 cup frozen green peas
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf or curly parsley

Preheat oven according to package directions for biscuits. Arrange biscuits on nonstick baking sheet and sprinkle with a little ground cayenne pepper or sweet paprika then place biscuits into a preheated oven. Bake until golden, remove biscuits from oven and then cool.

In a medium skillet, bring 1 cup white wine and 2 cups chicken broth and 1 bay leaf to a boil. Slide in chicken breasts and gently poach them in simmering broth and wine for 10 to 12 minutes.

Preheat a second skillet over medium heat. Add oil and butter. When butter melts into oil, add mushrooms and onion and cook 5 minutes until tender. Add flour and cook another minute.

Pull chicken from broth and set on cutting board. Ladle cooking liquid into the mushrooms, whisking it in. Add 2 to 2 1/2 cups of liquid and discard the bay leaf. Add pimentos and peas to the sauce. Dice chicken into bite-size pieces and slide into bubbling sauce.

Split the biscuits, place bottoms on dinner plates and cover with ladles of Chicken a la King. Cap with biscuit tops and garnish with chopped parsley.

Published in: on December 18, 2008 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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Dutch Oven Pot Roast

It’s officially damn cold here in Texass and I’ve been craving some serious comfort food.  Enter: pot roast.  My friend Heather posted a recipe for it ages ago and it seemed easy enough, so I thought I’d give it a go.  Oh. My. God.  SO GOOD! And so EASY!  My alterations are in parenthesis:

Dutch Oven Pot Roast

5 lbs. round bone pot roast (I used about 3lbs)
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. shortening (I used butter, I wasn’t buying Crisco just for this)
1/2 cup barbecue sauce
1/2 cup apple cider (I used Costco brand apple juice)
8 carrots, pared, peeled, and cut into 2 inch chunks (we used a half a bag of baby carrots)
6 large potatoes, peeled and quartered (Yukon Gold tates)
2 onions, sliced
8 oz. fresh okra (I’m not a fan, so I used a few handfuls of white mushrooms instead)

1. Rub meat with salt.

2. Melt shortening in Dutch oven; add meat and cook over medium heat, turning once. (I did about 3 minutes a side)

3. Reduce heat, pour barbecue sauce and cider over meat.

4. Cover and simmer on top of range or in 325° oven for 3-4 hours. (I put it in the oven)

5. Add carrots, potatoes, and onions 1 1/2 hours before end of cooking time.

6. Add okra (mushrooms) 15 minutes before end of cooking time.

I think I started it around 3 and we ate around 7, so it was in there for a good 3.75 hours or so.  And it was PERFECTLY done.  We finished off the leftovers tonight and I still want more!  Next time (oh, there WILL be a next time) I’m making a bigger roast.

Published in: on December 17, 2008 at 3:59 am  Comments (1)  
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