Oyster Mushroom and French Bean Risotto

It was veggie shopping time again. And I’m getting really good at ignoring the colorful fruit and diving right into the greens and reds and beiges of all those beautiful veggies.

In my search for the ever new, unknown vegetable I picked up some gorgeous oyster mushrooms today. They were expensive, yeah, but I’ll be cooking just for me, maybe with half a serving leftover to make my boyfriend jealous. Or just to have later again, with some pretty lettuce from Kent, that I also picked up. Oh, I do love my neighborhood so dearly.

So I’ve never cooked with oyster mushrooms before. Heck, I’ve never actually gone outside my comfort zone of portobellos or creminis. Because they are easy, they make yummy burgers and stir fries and you can get them just about everywhere. Generally, I’ve been on a mushroom trip lately. Three giant portobellos made it into my tummy over the past two days, as burgers, sides and salad toppings.

But today it is time. I will probably end up spending hours in the kitchen to make this, but it is time. The last time I made real risotto was when I was still living at home, years before I even knew I was going to move out, not even thinking about another country. So that makes it what, six years ago now? Six years without risotto? Oh dear. It is some serious risotto time.

I’m using the excuse that I have to avoid the harsh midday sun anyways with my pale skin, I’m going to take off into the park after the risotto adventures. But here it goes.

Recipe Notes: Risotto always scared me. What if I burn the onions? Or the rice? Or what if it gets too sticky? Or too liquid? For some reason, the ladeling method (read on) works magic. No burning, no excess liquid, just pure rice goodness. And the lemon zest works best with a peeler here, use it as if you were peeling an apple or a potato.

Makes about 3 servings

25g soy butter
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp thyme
1 long strip lemon zest
1 bay leaf
150g risotto rice
150ml white wine
750ml hot veggie stock
100g french beans, ends chopped off and halved
three big handfuls of oyster mushrooms

Heat up the butter and olive oil and throw in the garlic and onions. You don’t want anything to brown here, only to become succulent (such a fancy word!). This works best over medium-low heat, for about 5 minutes.

Add in the thyme, bay leaf, lemon zest and risotto rice and stir constantly for another minute or so.

Pour in the wine and let it simmer until the wine has reduced to about half of what it was.

Now the fun part begins. Get out a ladle and pour in one ladle of veggie stock. Let everything get absorbed by the rice, which should take around 2-3 minutes or so. And repeat that process until you’ve completely run out of stock, stirring constantly

Meanwhile get another pot of water boiling. Throw the beans in there and boil for 3-4 minutes until tender, then drain and rinse with cold water.

Once you’re done with the ladling of the veggie stock remove the bay leaf and lemon zest and throw in the beans and your oyster mushrooms. Fold everything in, turn the heat off and put the lid on for about 10 minutes so the mushrooms can pick up some of the flavors and the rice absorbs that last bit of liquid that still might be around.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and enjoy.

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