FOR THE LOVE OF RISOTTO

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If you have been following our posts, you undoubtedly know that the Saltwater Farm Vineyard staff recently had the pleasure of a private tasting and tour of Trillium Brewing Co. in Boston. Being a group of New Englanders (and, ­ don’t be surprised… ­ beer lovers), this trip was a heck of a time.

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Of course we’re a little biased… our affection for owners JC and Esther admittedly runs deep, that we won’t deny. These two have created a sophisticated and unique space for craft beer innovation. It seems that every time we turn around, there is more press singing their praises.

risotto4My husband and I brought home one of our favorite brews from the visit, Pot & Kettle Oatmeal Porter, which they sell by the bottle. Every so often we manage to maintain a little bit of self control and allow a good thing to last. It’s truly a challenge to wait for just the right time to crack open something we enjoy so much. This time around, my husband and I both came down with an illness that put us out of commission for a solid week so perhaps it wasn’t technically self control? I will say this though, it gave me ample time to salivate over a recipe for Mushroom Stout Risotto I had flagged from the most recent issue of Beer Advocate (Issue #85: Respect Beer). We picked up this publication at the Kennebec River Brewery in February. Luckily, each bottle of Pot & Kettle is 24.5 oz, which left us plenty for sipping by the glass in addition to the 12 oz needed for the recipe that I can’t wait to share with you. The flavors, as it turned out, are richly satisfying. With limited cool nights left until Summer, you’re going to want to add this to your menu plan.

Without further ado…

MUSHROOM & PORTER RISOTTO
adapted from Beeradvocate.com

1 oz dried mushrooms (I used a blend)
1 cup boiling water
olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 leek, white and light green part only (Cut lengthwise in half, rinse of any soil and slice thin)
2 bay leaves
5 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tbsp of fresh thyme or 1 tbsp dried
2 cups of arborio, preferably organic
1 lb of mushrooms (I used a blend of King Trumpet and Shiitake, cleaned and given a medium chop)
12 oz dark beer (I used Trillium Pot & Kettle Porter, go out and find something local!)
6­-7 cups of good chicken or vegetable stock, preferably organic and low sodium
1 tbsp miso paste (I used South River Three­-Year Barley found in the refrigerated section of my local co-­op.)
2 tbsp Tamari
3/4 cup grated hard cheese such as parmesan, asiago, or pecorino (you decide)
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley

To prepare:

Start with rehydrating the dried mushrooms by placing them into the boiling water. I use a glass measuring cup and rest a small prep bowl on top to help keep the heat in and the mushrooms submerged. Set aside as this takes about 30 minutes. Next you’ll want to warm your stock and have it ready for when needed. Set it in a medium sauce pan over a medium­-low heat.

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Toss your chopped mushrooms with a good drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Dump them onto a foil lined baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden. Give them a stir halfway through (trust me, this makes your life easier).

risotto3In a large heavy bottomed pan, such as a dutch oven, add 3 tbsp of olive oil and bring up to medium heat. Sauté the onions until they start to lose their color and then add the leeks and bay leaves. Hit the lot of it with a healthy pinch of kosher salt and cracked pepper. Stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, about 6­-8 minutes. When the leeks are tender and the onions start to caramelize, add the garlic and continue to cook for another 2­3 minutes.

Next, add the thyme and the rice. Stir, and allow to toast to a nice light golden brown color (3­-4 minutes). Meanwhile, strain the rehydrated mushrooms and add the liquid to your pot of stock. Chop any large pieces.

Once the rice is toasted, add all of your mushrooms. Stir and then pour in 10 oz of your chosen beer, getting up any brown bits off the bottom (that’s crucial flavor and a good thing). Start adding your stock, 1­-2 ladle­fulls at a time. Make sure you have a glass of beer in hand to get you in the proper frame of mind, you’re going to be babysitting this lovely pot of risotto for the next 30 minutes. Allow the liquid to absorb between each addition, stirring in between. Do this until you have just one ladle­full left, sip, stir, pour, repeat.

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When you reach this point, add the last 2 oz of beer, miso paste, and Tamari. Stir to combine, turn off the heat and cover. Let it sit for a good 5 minutes before you taste and adjust any seasoning. The final step is to stir in the parsley and cheese.

Serve immediately as a meatless main course or top with a piece of roasted chicken.

Cheers to the finest risotto around,
KR

Check out the post on Trillium Brewing Co. if you missed it! Want to see more recipes from Kristen? Try this, this or this!

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