Grilled Mushroom Risotto and No Impact Man
So as many of you know there is a food revolution sweeping across America. Having watched (by serious demand of Molly) Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution I was so happy someone had the passion, drive, and guts to take on the series food problems here in our home country that are out of control. Last year I fell in love with home cooking and began this Dinner & A Movie series as I explored and learned about food so it’s fitting that this one’s theme should be about what we eat, where it comes from and what we can do to lessen our impact in the world with a Jamie Oliver risotto recipe (we chose something without red meat intentionally) and No Impact Man.
Now, I’m not going to start a compost box in my living room or unplug the refrigerator but there are small things I could take from this man’s extreme example. As they unplugged from modern-life I couldn’t help but think about the wonderful memories and conversations they were having over their candlelit, home-cooked, locally grown dinners. Isn’t that more valuable than your favorite TV show in the end? To point out two key items I noticed, in Jamie Oliver’s food revolution the elementary school kids wanted their processed chicken nuggets and pink milk with more sugar than soda while No Impact Man’s daughter makes no fuss at eating her vegetables and drinking her simple white milk. I even joked that I think she eats better than I do! So, what are we teaching our kids about food?
How has this movie and series affected me? When I walk past a trash can full of fast food containers it makes me sad, being aware of the amount of waste one order of take out food creates is enough to make me say forget it. I take my own market basket with me to Whole Foods and the farmer’s market, no bottled water, I try to buy from local farms and eat much less beef, I walk to places when I can and I started growing my first herb garden. Next on my list of things to do is to visit these farms and continue on my own food revolution.
Grilled Mushroom Risotto
By: Jamie Oliver
1.5 litres hot chicken stock
a handful of dried porcini mushrooms
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 sticks of celery, trimmed and finely chopped
400g risotto rice
150ml vermouth or white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 large handfuls of wild mushrooms (try shiitake, girolle, chestnut or oyster – definitely no button mushrooms, please!), cleaned and sliced
a few sprigs of fresh chervil, tarragon or parsley, leaves picked and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
2 nice handfuls of freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
*I halved this recipe for 2 people
Heat your stock in a saucepan and keep it on a low simmer. Place the porcini mushrooms in a bowl and pour in just enough hot stock to cover. Leave for a couple of minutes until they’ve softened. Fish them out of the stock and chop them, reserving the soaking liquid.
In a large pan, heat a glug of olive oil and add the onion and celery.
Slowly fry without colouring them for at least 10 minutes, then turn the heat up and add the rice. Give it a stir.
Stir in the vermouth or wine – it’ll smell fantastic! Keep stirring until the liquid has cooked into the rice.
Now pour the porcini soaking liquid through a sieve into the pan and add the chopped porcini, a good pinch of salt and your first ladle of hot stock.
Turn the heat down to a simmer and keep adding ladlefuls of stock, stirring and massaging the starch out of the rice, allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.
Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft but with a slight bite. This will take about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, get a dry griddle pan hot and grill the wild mushrooms until soft. If your pan isn’t big enough, do this in batches. Put them into a bowl and add the chopped herbs, a pinch of salt and the lemon juice. Using your hands, get stuck in and toss everything together – this is going to be incredible!
Take the risotto off the heat and check the seasoning carefully. Stir in the butter and the Parmesan. You want it to be creamy and oozy in texture, so add a bit more stock if you think it needs it.
Put a lid on and leave the risotto to relax for about 3 minutes.
Take your risotto and add a little more seasoning or Parmesan if you like. Serve a good dollop of risotto topped with some grilled dressed mushrooms, a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
This is such a rich meal I served it with a simple green salad and roasted asparagus!