This week Celebrity & Fellow Master Chef Steven Saunders, proprietor of The Little Geranium in La Cala makes a fantastic baked vegetarian dish using miraculous mushrooms… oh and a little truffle!
Mushrooms could be our secret medicine!
YOU’LL have probably heard that mushrooms are good for you. So good, in fact, that some people use them as medicine and if we don’t we ought to!
Almost every ancient civilization around the world has used mushrooms at some point for their healing properties, for thousands of years. Ancient Egyptians even called them the plant of immortality! Edible mushrooms are fantastic for healing us and at the moment we all need a bit of healing inside and out!
Right now in lockdown is when we need our immunity system more than ever before. Because we are not getting out or moving around much, not exercising enough, probably eating a lot more junk foods than usual and we are stressing over the whole situation and all of that takes our immune system down to its lowest.
To boost our immune system we need some essential vitamins and some fresh nutritional food. Eating mushrooms will provide those vitamins and could also help to prevent respiratory infections so listen up, go get some mushrooms and follow this recipe.
They are also prebiotic which means they nourish the good bacteria in your gut. Mushrooms have a lot of nutritional value with few calories and little fat. Eating a variety of organic mushrooms regularly is best but if you can’t get hold of organic ones you can choose from simple white, Portobello, oyster, shiitake, girolles or other specialised mushrooms, but they must be edible! Be careful because some wild mushrooms are not edible and are toxic to humans. You should never pick mushrooms to eat from the wild unless you have been trained to identify them.
But you can grow your own quite easily by visiting the websites at lovethegarden.com or motherearthnews.com. We have just started to grow our own organic mushrooms with the help of those sites and I have to say it’s exciting to watch them grow!
All types of edible mushrooms contain varying degrees of protein and fibre. They also contain vitamin B, C and D as well as a powerful antioxidant called selenium, which helps to support the immune system. So now is the right time to start eating more mushrooms than you would usually.
Add them to your stews, pies or stir-fries, or eat them washed and raw drizzled with truffle oil added to a salad. As I write this, I am cooking a fish pie and I have added mushrooms. Mushrooms are the food of medicine so lets put them everywhere and beat this virus!
The dish this week is a real home dish all cooked in one pan just like Michele likes (saves washing up) and the secret to the recipe is the baking which transforms the flavours of what would otherwise be a wet risotto into something very special. Meat lovers can add a little chorizo or chicken for extra protein, but the dish doesn’t need it. The great thing about the recipe is that it is easy, inexpensive, impressive and it’s top of the Anti Corona charts!
It’s actually more like a paella in the way that it is cooked rather than risotto. But I live here in Spain and since paella is our national dish, the Spanish don’t appreciate it being tampered with! Origins of paella go back hundreds of years when the Romans brought the paella pan, the Spanish brought the fish and the Arabs brought the rice and so who am I to bring the mushrooms! I have made a video that shows you how to construct this fantastic dish very easily on YouTube… don’t miss it… see link information below and if you like the video please give a thumbs up and subscribe. That will mean that next week’s video will go straight to you! See you next week.
Ingredients (serves approx. six or two very hungry ones!)
500g of various mushrooms washed and sliced
150g of salted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic peeled and chopped finely
1 teaspoon of sweet red pepper (pimentón dulce) or mild paprika
1 flat tablespoon of dried tarragon (or fresh if you can get it!)
250g of risotto rice washed well in a colander to remove the starch
150ml of dry white wine
500ml of vegetable stock (you can add onions, garlic, carrot, leek & celery to a bought carton stock to make it taste better)
200g of Parmesan cheese
Truffle oil to finish
Sprigs of Coriander or French parsley
Freshly ground black pepper
Take a thick bottomed large open casserole pan (see video) or a paella pan, put it on a high heat and add 50% of the butter and olive oil and then the onion and garlic and sweat (cook gently) but do not colour it
Now add the mushrooms, tarragon and paprika and sweat the mushrooms say two minutes
Now add the white wine and stir well in
Sprinkle in the rice and season well with Maldon salt and freshly milled pepper
Stir in 100g of the cheese
Pour over the vegetable stock and add the remaining knob of butter on top. The stock should be about a fingers width above the rice (approx. 1 cm) Pans vary so if it isn’t then you may need more than 500ml of stock.
Bake in a pre-heated oven 190c for 20 minutes or until all the stock is soaked up into the rice and the rice is cooked.
Sprinkle with the remaining cheese on top and bake again until melted say two minutes.
Finally, drizzle some truffle oil generously all over and garnish with some sprigs of parsley or coriander
Serve steaming hot, in the centre of the table for all to share with a salad or some crusty bread.
Note: If you can’t get truffle oil look for an oil infused with mushrooms like a cep oil or similar.