On our way home from our fortnightly grocery shop yesterday we noticed new birch boletes growing in the same spot as before. The weather recently had been perfect for mushrooms: several days of rain followed by a couple of days of sunshine, so I wasn't surprised, but nonetheless very excited!
Naturally we stopped to pick them. They turned out to be three orange birch boletes and one brown one - only four in total, but all fairly large. They probably would have been enough for a lovely sauce, but I chose to slice and add them to the ones already sitting in the freezer. I am going to need a lot for some of my Christmas recipes!
Still on the subject of mushrooms, last night's dinner was chanterelle risotto. It was a true gourmet meal, made very cheaply since the chanterelles came free.
I make risotto quite often, many different ways, but in my opinion nothing beats a wild mushroom one.
3 garlic cloves
200g arborio rice
1/4 cup white wine (I would normally use more but that was all I had)
3-4 cups stock (see how much liquid your rice can absorb). I used beef, but chicken or vegetable stock would be just as good
A good handful of frozen peas
180g chanterelles (mine were frozen)
Oil and butter for cooking
Herbs - I had fresh rosemary and oregano, but dried herbs are just as good
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: a couple of tablespoons of single cream, cream cheese or grated parmesan to make it more creamy
I started by heating the oil and butter (about a tablespoon each) in a pan. Next, I added the chopped shallots and garlic and sautéed them, then added the mushrooms. I fried that over medium-low heat until the chanterelles were soft. I then added the rice, chopped herbs, salt and pepper and let it fry for a couple of minutes until the rice became translucent, before adding the wine.
Once the rice absorbed all the wine, I started adding the stock, about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring and letting the rice absorb the liquid before adding more. Towards the end of cooking I added the peas and cream. After a couple more minutes I turned off the heat, put the lid on and let it sit for another 10 minutes. The dish is ready when the rice is completely cooked so you need to taste it.
Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan and a simple side salad.