I stopped in at the store for a bit this morning to grab some Schnitzel (it’s on sale!) and some stir fry (because that goes well with schnitzel). But I got distracted because Greg had had some mushrooms freshly delivered from Three C Farms. They are a local mushroom farming company that specializes in unique and rare mushrooms, all grown naturally. I ended up bringing home Schnitzel and a bunch of unique mushrooms.
Didn’t really know what to do with them.
I mean, these are not my usual white button or cremini mushrooms. These are weird looking and intimidating, although a little spectacular.
So, I did an internet search.
That’s my usual approach to an unknown ingredient. What is it? Why is it better for me than what I am used to?
All of these unique mushrooms had some pretty cool health benefits indicated, so I looked up the most important question:
How do I cook it?
There were some interesting recipes, for sure. But since I was serving along side schnitzel, I focused on sides, and since we had potatoes yesterday, and pasta on Saturday, I angled towards rice.
Rice + Mushrooms typed in the internet search engine we all love = Risotto.
Risotto = Intimidating.
I’ve always had rice as a basic side in our dinners – we serve it up with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon usually. Or a Nasi if I have lots of leftovers. But Risotto always seemed a little too “gourmet” for my family, and I had the impression that it was a difficult process to attempt. I mean, look at this picture and tell me that’s not intimidating. (recipe is linked – hope I’m not breaking some copyright law)
That is certainly not how we “plate” dinner at my home. No chives (I have them in the garden, but always forget to go get them), no artistic smear of mascarpone, and certainly no slices of lemons anywhere.
But I did find a recipe on Allrecipes.com that looked a little more reasonable in ingredients and I’m reasonably good at substituting, so I thought I’d give it a try. It called for portobello’s and regular mushrooms, so I substituted the fancy King Oysters and some Asparagus that was getting old in the fridge.
Broth = Wine
This recipe started off asking for chicken broth. I tend to be a little liberal in my definition of chicken broth when it comes to recipes. I believe what the recipe is actually calling for is a mixture of chicken broth and white wine, or beef broth and red wine. I don’t think this because I have a drinking problem. Honest. It’s just that, every time I cook with wine, dinner tastes like we are eating at one of those fancy restaurants. Pretty sure those chefs are sneaking in a lot of wine into their broths and risottos. I’m not too picky in choosing the wine. I have some sauvignon blanc that I made over at Wine o’ Willies, and that works just fine in just about everything I cook.
So, I heated up some broth and wine. I’m pretty sure they wanted this simmering so that when we add it to the rice, the temperature is already high.
Meanwhile, (that’s what the recipe said), I was to sauté the mushrooms and some garlic in some olive oil until tender. I poured some dry, uncooked brown rice directly into the pot and stirred that in, covering it in the oil and mushroom juices and cooked until the rice turned golden brown.
Then came the little bit intense part. I had to pour the wine/broth into the rice slowly, little bit at a time, and allow it to get absorbed into the rice as it cooked. Then some more, then some more, kind of thing. It took a while, but I did some dishes and tidied up the kitchen in between stirring, and it smelled absolutely amazing. I added the asparagus after most of the broth was absorbed, I didn’t want them too mushy.
So this last part is where I went off the rails a bit in substituting, but that’s usually what I do, so why mess with a good thing, right?
The recipe called for some Parmesan and salt and pepper, and that seemed a little boring considering the cheese selection I have at my disposal at Schinkels’. I happened to have some Asiago and some caramelized onion cheddar, so I shredded those up instead. I stirred in the cheeses, and then let the rice kinda “crisp” with the cheese in spots, stirring it around a bit, but then letting it sit a few times.
Oh. My. Goodness.
This was really good. Seriously good. I served it alongside our usual plain rice with brown sugar and butter just in case it was a little too fancy for my people, but it turns out it was just fancy enough to be a nice side to the Schinkels’ Schnitzel.
Once again, no leftovers. At least, no Risotto leftovers. But I have some plain brown rice sitting in the fridge wanting to be some Nasi later in the week.
Risotto is a win with the Schinkel family!