Brown and White: Mushroom Risotto
Brown and white may not be the most exciting and vibrant autumn colours but there is so much more to these humble vegetables than meets the eye. Brown and white vegetables are packed with phytonutrients which have anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and antiviral health benefits.
Cauliflower, garlic, ginger, turnips, parsnips, potatoes, onions and mushrooms are rich sources of vitamin c, potassium, fibre and beta glucans. As well as being immune supportive, these nutrients also help to lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.
Mushrooms are one of the most nutrient-packed, health-promoting foods on the planet. The delicious and versatile micro-fungi have been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years, and mushroom extracts are still used in immune-boosting herbal preparations and nutritional supplements today.
Mushrooms are rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of vitamins C, D and B- group vitamins as well minerals including potassium, magnesium, calcium and selenium.
Mushrooms produce bio-active compounds that provide health benefits including: improving nutrient absorption, lowering cholesterol, supporting liver and pancreas function to protect against diabetes, improving bone health, lowering blood pressure and strengthening immune function. In addition, mushrooms possess health-promoting properties including anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and antioxidant. Eating a variety of mushroom species throughout the winter will help to protect you from cold and flu.
Mushroom Risotto with Garlic and Thyme
I use a variety of mushrooms, including shiitake, oyster, king oyster, swiss brown and enoki, as the varieties have different properties and health benefits.
The addition of onion, antimicrobial garlic and thyme together with vitamin C-rich parsley make this meal an essential, immune boosting inclusion to your winter menu.
1.5L Chicken or Vegetable stock
4 tablespoon Olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 sticks Celery, finely sliced
Salt and Black pepper
3 cloves garlic, crushed
400g Arborio Rice (Risotto rice)
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup frozen or fresh peas
80-100g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
300g Mushrooms (try to use a variety)
1 small handful Thyme, picked off the stalk
1 handful flat-leafed parsley, roughly chopped
1 squeeze lemon juice
Slice, chop or tear the mushrooms, depending on the type. Cook the mushrooms in batches, 1 handful at a time. In a hot pan heat a tablespoon of olive oil and add a handful of mushrooms and thyme. Cook for about 1 minute, toss them, then add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Cook for another couple of minutes and then taste - when they are nicely cooked add some parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of pepper.
Once they are cooked, chop half of the cooked mushrooms.
1. Heat the stock and keep warm over a low heat.
2. In a separate pan over a low-medium heat, heat the olive oil and then add the onion and celery and a pinch of salt. Allow to sweat for 2-3 minutes then add garlic. Cook for a further 2 minutes until vegetables are softened.
3. Add the rice. Turn up the heat and keep stirring the rice as it begins to soak up the flavours. You do not want the rice to brown so keep it moving, it may begin to crackle a little bit.
4. After 2-3 minutes, when the rice begins to look translucent, add the wine. Keep stirring the rice as the alcohol cooks off and it soaks up all of the liquid.
5. Add your first ladle of stock and the chopped mushrooms and reduce the heat to low-medium so that the rice does not cook too quickly on the outside. Stir until the liquid is absorbed and then add the next ladle.
6. Keep adding ladles of stock in this way, constantly stirring, until each one is completely absorbed into the rice before adding the rest.
7. Add in the peas about half way through the stock.
8. After 15-20 minutes the rice should be approaching ready. Taste the rice. It should be soft with the slightest bite in the middle.
9. Check your seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste.
10. Remove from the heat and stir through butter, remaining mushrooms and Parmesan cheese.
11. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese on top and a green salad on the side.
(recipe adapted from the wonderful Jamie Oliver)