Wild Mushroom Risotto

Mushroom Risotto

I love when the weather starts to get colder and I can start cooking hardy meals again. The cold weather and the autumn ingredients are coming together right now and I decided to make one of my favorite dishes: Mushroom Risotto. Making risotto for me is second nature because I have done it so many times and it is such a satisfying all in one dish.

Autumn Mushrooms

For this dish I made a classic risotto with Chanterelles Mushrooms cooked with the rice and a roasted Manzanita Bolete Mushroom on top. The Manzanita Bolete Mushroom is similar to the Porcini Mushroom but has a sweeter flavor and is big and meaty like the Porcini.

Seared Ribeye Steak With Mushroom Ragout

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Running an online food dictionary has its perks because I get to use the unusual ingredients to create a fun meal. After photographing the ingredients for the Preppings database I get to to figure out how to use them for a meal. Tonight I am cooking a ragout of Hedgehog Mushrooms and Fresh Oaxaca Red Beans, sautéed Loroco Flowers, and seared Ribeye Steak.

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Hedgehog Mushrooms (pictured below right) have just started their season and have an earthy flavor and great substitutes would be  Chanterelle Mushrooms and Yellow Foot Mushrooms. Fresh Oaxaca Red Beans (pictured below middle) are one of the types of fresh shelling beans that is similar to Fresh Cranberry Beans with a earthy-slightly sweet flavor and a creamy texture. This is my first time cooking with Loroco Flowers (pictured above and below left). They have a flavor similar to Asparagus and are typically used inside Pupusas. The complex flavor combination of the Loroco Flowers worked well with the steak and mushrooms.

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Springtime Mushrooms

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One of the rights of spring for chefs is the seasons start of porcini and morel mushrooms, unfortunately, it doesn’t look like a good year for morels. According to the fine folks at Far West Fungi, the dry winter didn’t produce enough rain for the morels to flourish. But the good news is… it should be a great year for porcini. The season is just beginning now and the prices should start coming down soon.

I splurged and bought a few morels to make one of my favorite springtime dishes; Halibut with Fava Beans, Morel Mushrooms, and Tarragon Aioli.

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With the shortage of morels this season, it’s time to start thinking about porcini. Porcini is a very hardy mushroom and holds up well to many cooking methods. They can be sautéed or grilled or roasted in the oven to bring out their earthy, meaty flavor. One of the best ways to cook a porcini is in the pizza oven if you have access to one.

They are best cooked whole or cut in half depending on there size. Serve them on top of a risotto or steak, or in a pasta, or just on the plate with a fork and knife sprinkled with a little fleur de sel.

Mushroom Season

Mushrooms are popping up around the markets just in time for Thanksgiving, and finally, the prices are becoming more affordable.  I have seen Chanterelles for around $20 a pound and they are a great addition to turkey gravy or just sautéed and put into a stuffing.

I picked up a beautiful Porcini mushroom at Far West Fungi for $28 a pound.  They are huge and perfect for roasting whole (I wish I had a pizza oven) or slicing and sautéing with a little olive oil, garlic, and shallots.

White and black Truffles are also around in the markets and they are coming from Oregon, France, and Italy ranging from $18 an ounce for the Oregon truffles to $187 an ounce for the prized white truffles from Piedmont, Italy.