Sometimes the dredges of the fridge yield up an offering more bright than the shriveled remnants in brown paper sacks suggest. Almost as if they know that a wearying Wednesday deserves a special sort of celebration, a reminder that lighter days are coming, that the fruits of spring plantings are about to burst from the vines and brighten our table. In the meantime, the scraps of winter foraging will bring a warmth to our evening and sustain us through the days ahead.
For a meal that takes a surprisingly short, albeit attentive, amount of time to make, I am left wondering why it has taken me three and a half years to accidentally stumble upon the joy that a creamy bowl of mushroom risotto is on a chilly spring evening. During my first winter in Colorado I made the Dried Porcini Mushroom Risotto with Goat Cheese from Food and Wine with dried porcini that I had picked up on a whim to put in C’s stocking. It was wonderful, we refer to it often and fondly, C frequently asks when I am going to make it again, I never have. Until tonight.
Tonight I pulled a bag of once fresh black trumpet mushrooms now shriveled and dried from the far corner of the fridge and a half bag of dried chanterelle from the cupboard, I spotted the unopened log of goat cheese and realized I had all the ingredients to return to that supper of legend, the one which C probably thought he would never taste again. It was something special and unexpected something to make an otherwise average Wednesday evening something to look forward to.
Love from Southern Oregon,
Dried Wild Mushroom Risotto
- 1 cup dried wild mushrooms, I used a combination of chanerelle and black trumpet from my local forager (about 1 ounce)
- 3 cups hot water, more if needed
- 3 1/2 cups water
- 1/2 tablespoon better than chicken boullion
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups arborio rice
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 2 ounces mild goat cheese, I used chevre
- Grated Parmesan, for serving
Put your dried mushrooms in a heatproof bowl and cover with the 3 cups of boiling water. Let soak until tender about 20 minutes. Reserving soaking liquid, remove and coarsely chop the mushrooms.
Heat your olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add your chopped onions and garlic and cook until softened about 5 minutes. Add your chicken boullion, chopped mushrooms, salt, and rice. Cook, stirring until rice begins to turn opaque about 2 minutes. Then, straining your soaking liquid through a colander lined with paper towel or pour over coffee maker and coffee filter, add 1/2 cup of liquid at a time keeping the contents of the pan at a simmer and stirring frequently, until liquid is absorbed. When all of the soaking liquid has been absorbed begin to add the additional 3 cups of water in the same manner until risotto is al dente and the remaining liquid is creamy, you may need extra water to achieve this consistency and it will take you 25-30 minutes of frequent stirring. Add butter, black pepper, and goat cheese and stir to combine. Adjust salt to your liking.
Serve warm, possibly on a bed of spicy arugula picked fresh from your garden, sprinkled with a generous amount of Parmesan and enjoy! Please, don’t wait three and a half years to come back for seconds. It’s worth an annual rotation at least. 🙂