Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Porcini Mushroom Paste: Chicken and Mushroom Risotto

I love mushrooms. And mushrooms in risotto or on pasta are some of my favourite ways of eating them. But to get that real, woody, concentrated mushroom flavour, you either have to whizz up full-flavoured mushrooms in a food processor with seasonings and a little white wine and stir them in to the risotto, or you can always use porcini mushroom paste.

 
I was sent some of this by Sainsbury's, who have just launched their Speciality Ingredients range, although it's not just porcini mushrooms in there but other exotic species too. However, it does add a conentrated burst of mushroom flavour to pretty much everything. I stirred some into my risotto with diced chicken before adding the rice and it worked a treat. And while I have always loved my home-made versions pre-porcini paste, a spoonful or two of this just increases the flavour of the dish. Loads. 

 
With my risotto, I like to cook my fresh mushrooms separately in a little garlic and butter and then just spoon this over the top of the rice once everything's cooked, usually with a little dribble of the garlicky butter it's been cooked in. And I did the same with this version. I also thought a fried, crispy sage leaf would work well with it but after I tasted it I have to say it wasn't necessary: so do go ahead without it.

You could also use this porcini mushroom paste to add a little more flavour to a chicken and mushroom pie filling (that's what I'm going to do next) or just add a spoonful to a pan, stir in some white wine, then creme fraiche or single cream and some grated Parmesan and you have a quick but indulgent pasta sauce.

Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
Serves 2
Ingredients:
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 diced chicken breast, or 2 diced thighs
  • 1 x 15ml tablespoon porcini mushroom paste
  • 160g risotto rice
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 50g chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 clove garlic
Method:
  1. Chop the onion finely and fry in a little olive oil until just softened. Stir in the chicken breast pieces and cook gently until just sealed and starting to brown. Quickly stir in the porcini mushroom paste.
  2. Tip in the risotto rice and stir so that all the grains are coated in the oily mushroom mixture. Cook for 1 minute and then slosh in the white wine.
  3. Let the wine bubble away, and when it's been absorbed by the rice, pour in a ladleful of the chicken stock. Stir regularly, topping up the rice with more stock until the rice is tender.
  4. While the risotto is cooking, clean and slice the mushrooms and throw into a small pan with the butter and chopped clove of garlic. Fry gently on a low heat, until the mushrooms are soft.
  5. Serve the risotto, with the garlic mushrooms piled on top.
Do you think porcini mushroom paste would be useful to you in the kitchen?