Risotto with Autumn Wild Chanterelle

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Golden chanterelle – the queen of the forest.

Last night, I had made plans to go out for dinner with a girlfriend of mine. She had called in the morning to confirm our plans and to let me know that she was bringing me a bag of freshly harvested chanterelle.

Squealing with excitement, I offered to cook for us instead of going out. She offered to bring the wine. I am so lucky to have such generous friends – all I did was fire up the stove!

While I was in the office all day, catching up on ignored paper work, I day dreamed about my lovely chanterelle. What would I do with them?

I decided on a risotto enhanced with leek, pancetta, dried wild mushrooms, sea salt and a yummy slab of gorgonzola. The chanterelle were so perfect that I wanted them as a garnish rather than losing them in the risotto.

I used leek rather than onion and garlic to lift the flavour of the mushrooms rather than coat it.

Rendering the fat from tiny pancetta cubes added depth.

The chanterelle were sautéed in duck fat with pancetta and leek. The aroma was beyond… I finished them with lemon thyme, a bit of lemon zest and a drop of fresh lemon juice – just a bit of each…

 Risotto with Autumn Wild Chanterelle

serves 2-3

1 cup Arborio rice

1/3 cup chopped leek

1/4 cup pancetta, diced

2 tablespoons butter

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a handful of dried wild mushrooms –  cover with hot broth and allow to rehydrate…about 20 minutes

3 1/2 cups beef broth, preferably homemade but commercial will still be good!…bring to just before the boil and keep warm.

In a deep skillet, melt butter in olive oil over medium heat.

When butter is frothing add pancetta and leek…saute for 4 minutes stirring constantly.

Add Arborio rice and stir until well coated with butter/oil mixture and kernels are warmed. Heating the rice ensures quick absorption of the broth.

Add hot broth 1/4 cup at a time…stirring gently until broth is incorporated.

At this point drain the mushroom soaking in broth into the risotto…be careful not to pour in any grit from the mushrooms

Continue until rice is almost al dente…tender to the teeth but not to the gums!

Sautéed Chanterelle

1/2 lb fresh chanterelle, cleaned

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon butter or rendered duck fat

2 tablespoons pancetta

2 tablespoons chopped leek

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, picked

zest of 1/2 lemon

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice.

As you are cooking your risotto, place a medium skillet over medium high heat.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of butter or duck fat

Add 2 tablespoons diced pancetta and 2 tablespoons chopped leek

Saute 3 minutes – then add chanterelle.

Season generously with sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

Allow the chanterelle to sizzle until the risotto is finished – about 5 minutes – toss occasionally

To serve, divide risotto between plates – placing rice in the middle of the plates.

Drape each mound of rice with a slice of creamy gorgonzola.

Divide the chanterelle between the plates.

Sprinkle with tiny thyme leaves, a bit of lemon zest and a drop of freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Enjoy!