This week we have been pulled to be outside for a few days as the weather was so beautiful it was impossible for us to be downstairs in our soap kitchen. (it was 70 on Tuesday!) We have been itching to start our next farm season and to that end we have cleaned out our greenhouse so it’s ready to go when we start planting on April 1st. We had trouble with our roosters picking on our ducks this winter and had used it as a temporary pen for our African goose and 6 ducks. The floor was going to yield some great compost material! It has also been a difficult week in lieu of the events in Japan and Libya. At times the world is such a troubled place. After donating to Habitat for Humanity for aid in Japan, I realize how very fortunate we are to have a simple life of growing food and making soaps. When things fall apart it gets down to basics: food, shelter, clean water.
During times like these I find that certain foods are indeed comforting. Although you can’t beat a perfect grilled cheese sandwich, I wanted something in a bowl. I settled on Porcini Mushroom Risotto. There is something about the earthy depth of this dish that strikes just the right chord for me. It is also a great way to use that roasted chicken stock you may have made from the roasted chicken recipe a few weeks before. I like to finish it with frozen peas as their bright green color looks wonderful against the caramel color of the finished risotto. If you love mushrooms this is the dish for you. Although you can use your garden variety button mushrooms, I prefer the brown cremini; they go perfectly with the porcini’s. Cooking the dried porcini’s in the roasted chicken broth takes your broth to another level completely.
- 5 3/4 cups roasted chicken stock (alternatively you can use commercial chicken broth)
- 1/2 oz dried porcini mushrooms
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 cups onion, chopped
- 10 oz fresh cremini mushrooms, chopped finely
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
- 2/3 cups dry white vermouth
- 2/3 cups freshly grated Pecorino cheese
- 2/3 cups frozen peas, thawed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan bring the roasted chicken stock to a simmer. Add the dried porcini mushrooms to stock, cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms with a slotted spoon and chop, then reserve. Continue to keep the stock on a low simmer.
- Melt the butter in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, the reserved porcini’s and the garlic. Saute until the mushrooms are tender and the juices evaporate, about 10 minutes.
- Stir in the rice, then add the vermouth, stirring continually until the liquid is absorbed, about 3 minutes. Add 1 cup of stock and simmer over medium-low heat. Stir often until the liquid is absorbed. Add 1 cup of stock each time and repeat until all the stock is used and the mixture is creamy.
- Add the Pecorino and thawed peas, stirring until cheese melts and peas are heated through, but still bright green, about 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
“You can do no great things, only small things with great love.”