Sunday, July 24, 2011

Shiitake Mushroom and Leek Risotto

Prepared July 23, 2011. This method is much easier than the classic preparation. Rather than add the liquid a bit at a time and stir, you add it all at once, and stir it at the end. The product rivals the more labor-intensive method. Note the high ratio of liquid to rice. Some batches of rice may need even more than this. If not creamy enough, add a bit more stock at the end and stir.
4 T olive oil, divided
1 cup of dry shiitake mushrooms, reconstituted
3/4 c sliced leeks, white part only
4 or 5 sprigs fresh thyme
2 T minced garlic
1 c Arborio rice
1/2 c dry white wine
2 T brandy
3 c hot chicken stock + 1 c of the reserved mushroom stock
1 t salt
1 T mushroom powder
1/4 T freshly ground pepper
1/4 c shredded Parmesan cheese
To reconstitute the mushrooms, put them in a bowl and pour 2 cups very hot water over them, cover and set aside to cool. Trim and discard the tough stems from the mushrooms {Hint: good kitchen shears make short work of this]. Chop into bite-size pieces. Heat a 12 inch metal skillet over medium. Add 3 tablespoons of oil. When hot, add the mushrooms and leeks. Saute until the vegetables are nicely browned. Stir in the rice and the last tablespoon of oil. Cook with frequent stirring until the rice is lightly colored. Add the sprigs of thyme, the garlic, the wine and brandy. Heat until most of the liquid is lost. Add the salt, pepper, seasonings, and ALL the hot stock. Mix well, lower heat to a fast simmer, and cover. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring twice during cooking. Remove the thyme sprigs. Stir in the Parmesan. 
Pairs nicely with thin slices of roast chicken breast or pan-roasted salmon filets. Serves 6.