Lemon Vegetable Risotto (4)

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Lemons are so versatile whether you put the juice or the zest or both in a recipe.  Where would Greek cuisine be without them?  I use lemon juice to make a vinaigrette dressing. I grate lemon zest into my fishcakes and both zest and juice are used in this risotto and are what makes it a little different. Risotto – Italian comfort food – is endlessly versatile too. This one includes asparagus tips, portobello mushrooms, peas and spinach. With this dish the broth is added a little at a time – when the rice has almost absorbed the stock add a little more and stir frequently.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 shallots – finely chopped

2 large garlic cloves – grated

1 1/2 cups of Arborio rice

4 cups of vegetable or chicken broth

Zest and juice of 1 lemon

4 oz. portobello mushrooms – diced

4 oz. baby asparagus

4 oz. frozen peas

4 oz. baby spinach

Pour oil into a cast iron Dutch oven and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. When sizzling add the shallots and let cook for a couple of minutes, then turn heat down a little and add the garlic.

After a few minutes tip the rice into the pot and stir before adding a cup of broth. Bring broth to a boil then turn down to a simmer and add the lemon zest and juice and all of the vegetables.

Simmer for some 20 minutes until rice is cooked and the broth is absorbed.

Serve immediately.

 

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Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup (4)

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What a comforting and hearty soup this is. Two ingredients make this soup stand out. First the addition of dried mushrooms – porcini or chanterelles – and secondly mushroom stock (Kallo brand, which is both gluten and lactose free can be bought online from Amazon US and is widely stocked in UK supermarkets and gourmet food shops). The wild rice is cooked separately from the soup because otherwise it soaks up too much of the broth and is only added in just before serving. The addition of the rice adds bulk so that this recipe makes a satisfying lunch or a lightish dinner.

1/2 oz dried chanterelle mushrooms or 1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water and let to cool for half an hour then drained and patted dry

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – roughly chopped

2 large cloves of garlic – grated

8 oz baby bella mushrooms – sliced

4 cups of mushroom broth

1 cup of wild rice

1 1/2 cups water

1 tbsp parsley – finely chopped

Heat seasoned oil in a Dutch oven.

Pulse onion about 6 times in food processor till finely chopped then place in the Dutch oven when oil is sizzling and let brown and soften, then add the garlic and cook a few minutes more.

Place both the resuscitated mushrooms and baby bella mushrooms in a food processor and process until in very small pieces but not mushy. Add to softened onions and garlic.

Pour over the mushroom broth, bring mixture to a boil then simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.

Bring 1 1/2 cups of water to a boil, add wild rice and cook for 15 minutes then drain and add to soup.

Stir in 1 tbsp. chopped parsley and stir then serve immediately.

 

 

 

Good Ol’ Chicken Stew (4)

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Love stews served with mashed potatoes to soak up the juices. Browning the onions and searing the meat makes all the difference to the end product by providing a depth of flavor to the sauce. I mashed half of the cannellini beans to thicken the gravy. Perfect autumn dish.

2 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 medium onions – finely chopped

2 chicken breasts – cut into bite sized pieces

2 cups of chicken broth

8 oz. carrots – cut into 1 inch chunks

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

1 x 15 oz can of canellini beans – crush half of them with a potato masher

Heat 1 tbsp. of the seasoned oil in a Dutch oven and when sizzling add the onions and let soften and brown. Then remove them to a plate.

Add the second tbsp. of oil to the Dutch oven and when sizzling add the chicken pieces and sear on all sides.

Place onion back with the chicken and add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil, then simmer for an hour.

 

Mushroom Risotto (4)

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A ‘basis’ recipe – a recipe that can be the base of a meal for a group of people with different dietary requirements – is very useful to have in your repertoire. My family members have between them gluten and lactose intolerances and another person is vegetarian. To the basic mushroom risotto you can add/omit cheese, add/omit meat on the side and everyone is happy and you have only had to cook one meal.

To get the best flavor the addition of dried porcini mushrooms and a mushroom broth (Kallo brand can be ordered from Amazon if not if not readily available; a veg. broth will do otherwise) makes a better risotto.

I served this risotto with slices of pan-fried chicken breast.

1 tbsp. olive oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic – grated

1 tbsp. dried porcini mushrooms – soaked in boiling water fro 20 minutes and then dried with paper towel and then finely chopped

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – finely choppped

1 cup of Pinot Grigio white wine

12 oz. Arborio rice

2 cups mushroom/veg. broth (and more if necessary)

Parsley – finely chopped, as a garnish

 

Heat seasoned oil in a skillet/frying pan and when sizzling add onion and let brown.

Add garlic and cook a little more.

Add both types of mushrooms, wine, rice and some of the broth and bring to a gentle boil, then turn the heat down.

Keep stirring and add more broth a little at a time. When almost absorbed add a bit more.

Keep cooking over low heat until rice is tender (though it will never be as tender as regular rice). And you may want to keep adding a bit more broth – I needed to.

Garnish with parsley and serve.

 

 

 

Veal Ragu with Zucchini Spaghetti (4)

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Zucchini/courgettes ‘spaghetti’ is a really good substitute for pasta and because it doesn’t taste of much it is the perfect foil for many different sauces. I  make my own with a spiralizer but I notice that it is now available to buy in supermarkets. It is very quick to cook – literally a few minutes – and you actually want it to be just ‘al dente’. The veal sauce is livened up with sliced baby bella mushrooms and fresh herbs – sage and rosemary.

1 tbsp. oil, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion – finely chopped

1 pound ground veal/pork

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

1 cup chicken broth

1/2 tbsp. fresh sage – finely chopped

1/2 tbsp. fresh rosemary – finely chopped

Heat the seasoned oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add the onion and let it brown slightly.

Next add the ground veal and sear it before adding the mushrooms, chicken broth and herbs.

Simmer for around 15 minutes then pour sauce over the zucchini spaghetti.

ZUCCHINI SPAGHETTI

1 pound of zucchini – spiralized

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook zucchini in boiling water for around 3 minutes until they are cooked but still a little on the firm side.

Drain, then pat dry with a clean T-towel.

Place in a serving dish, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well.

Pour the veal ragu over the top

 

Herby Mushrooms and Apples (4)

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An interesting side dish using a mixture of mushrooms (cremini, baby bella and regular mushrooms, etc.) and apple. To add depth to the dish I added garlic and fresh oregano and thyme. Goes well with pork.

1 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large clove of garlic – grated

4 oz. mixed mushrooms – sliced

1 medium sweet, crisp apple – sliced

1/2 tsp. each of oregano and thyme – finely chopped

Heat seasoned oil and a skillet/frying pan and when hot add the garlic and cook for a minute – so not let garlic brown.

Add mushrooms and apple and stir before adding the herbs.

Cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring quite frequently, until mushrooms are browned and apples are translucent.

 

Jo’s Fiery Mushrooms (4)

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Harissa paste adds the fiery taste – a tablespoon is all you need (or more or less depending on how spicy you like things). Great as an appetizer/starter, side dish, to take on a picnic or to work as lunch. Can be eaten hot or cold, is vegetarian and if you are able to eat bread it would good for mopping up the juices.

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 an onion – chopped

2 cloves of garlic – finely chopped

8 oz. small mushrooms – sliced

1 cup crushed tomatoes

1 tbsp. harissa paste

1 cup veg. broth/stock (add more if needed but in the end you want a thickish sauce)

 

Place oil in a cast iron casserole dish and when sizzling add onion and garlic.

When softened, add mushrooms and stir for a moment.

Add crushed tomatoes, harissa paste and veg broth.

Bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes or until sauce is thickish.