All it took was a phone call from Outdoors Dan Young to motivate me to get my Mushroom Risotto cooking up for dinner. Taking a bit more effort than just putting rice in the rice cooker, risotto is one dish I usually save for special occasions.
The fact that Dan wants to talk to me about morels on his radio show this Saturday reminded me that I had a bunch of dried morels in the pantry from last season. It was also time for me to polish up my recipe a bit for a post.
Risotto is not a dish of exact science. Water/broth amounts can vary greatly as different varieties and brands of rice can differ greatly. What you add to risotto to flavor it can also vary greatly. Appreciate the “little bit of this, little bit of that” style risotto lends itself to – like another favorite this time of year, Mushroom & Asparagus Risotto.
Step 1: Get morels, or any variety of dried mushrooms, soaking in hot water. Let soak 1-2 hours.
Step 2: Get liquid boiling, water boiling, chop ingredients and choose a large skillet.
Step 3: Prepare to stir… and stir… and stir…
- 4-6 dried morel mushrooms or 1 1/2 cups dried mushroom variety
- 3 cups hot water
- 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 2-4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 2 cups chopped white button or cremini mushrooms
- 2 cups short grain rice
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
- 1-2 tablespoons fresh herbs of choice (chives, basil, parsley, thyme or tarragon)
- 1/3-2/3 cup parmesan cheese, optional
Soak dried mushrooms in hot water 1-2 hours. Drain liquid through a strainer and reserve. Slice or chop morel mushrooms and set aside. In a medium saucepan add mushroom soaking liquid, broth and wine. Bring liquid to a low boil.
In a large skillet, sauté onion and garlic on medium-high heat until soft. Add salt and pepper. Add rice and sauté until it begins to brown. Add white button or cremini mushrooms and continue to sauté until liquid begins to evaporate from the pan.
Begin adding hot liquid to the pan about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir until liquid is almost evaporated and repeat until rice is cooked to your liking. This process can’t be rushed and you must stir almost continuously. I also keep boiling water on hand in case I run out of the stock mixture as you DO NOT want to run out of liquid before your rice is cooked. Be sure to adjust salt if a lot of water is added. The rice should be firm, but done. Simply taste occasionally, adding salt when necessary and to judge the doneness of the rice.
Once rice taste-tests done, add remaining morel mushrooms, herbs and parmesan cheese. Garnish with additional herbs if desired.
***For fresh morels, follow this recipe but use 6 cups of stock and add the morels with the white button or cremini mushrooms.
Join us this Saturday, 1:00 PST on WHO-1040 AM – Des Moines, IA on the show, The Outdoor Grill with Outdoors Dan Young, while we talk different ways to cook up delicious morels and more.