Mrs Bailey’s Chicken and Mushroom Risotto
It took longer than anyone had hoped, to establish mushrooms on Mars. The dry and the cold seemed almost insuperable obstacles, almost. Until the Russians started to come, fleeing the Tsar’s pogroms: for Russians, it is known, cannot get by without mushrooms.
Their endeavours were long, hard, ultimately fruitful. Now that it’s known how to seed them and how to keep them healthy, they are as much a part of the Martian diet as any other Earthly crop.
You can just use cremini mushrooms for this, if that’s what you have access to; but it’s worth splashing out on something more exotic when you can. Chanterelles are perfect. Morels are excellent. Any so-called wild mushroom would be good. Experiment, and enjoy. (And if you worry about cost, remind yourself that really this is a dish that uses leftovers, so one little indulgence isn’t asking too much at all…)
120g risotto or other short-grain rice
250g mushrooms, halved if large
One onion, sliced
One fennel bulb, sliced
Crushed garlic, to taste
A glass of wine, either red or white
500g chicken stock, simmering
250g chicken, left over from a roast and shredded
Sour cream or fresh cream
Freshly grated parmesan, to serve
Heat olive oil in your favourite large pan or skillet. Once it’s truly hot, add a dab of butter and then the mushrooms. Fry them off briefly, and set aside on a plate.
Now add the onions and fennel to the pan, and cook until tender. Then add the garlic, and sizzle for a minute; then the rice, and ditto ditto.
Add the wine, stir it in, and cook until the pan starts to dry. Then add a ladleful of stock, stir that in, and cook until it’s absorbed. Then another, and so on for twenty-five to thirty minutes, until the rice is tender. Meanwhile, add salt and pepper to taste.
As soon as the rice is cooked to your satisfaction, add the shredded chicken and the mushrooms. Stir and simmer, taste, adjust seasonings, and add a glug or two of cream or sour cream according to taste. Stir, taste, adjust.
Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan atop.
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