Foraging For Dinner Wild Mushroom Risotto

Here we are on the Oregon Coast, it's the beginning of fall. The time of year the locals start searching for chanterelles. Foraging for mushrooms is a new venture for us. Though the idea of going out and searching for food in the wild does appeal to me on some level. It still feels kind of strange finding something in the dirt and then eating it.

The other night as we walked Olive, we ran into the couple who sell real estate in town. They stopped on the side of the road next to us, opened up the back of their truck and showed us their find, several buckets of wild chanterelle mushrooms.

As they filled up a small bag for us they spoke of the place in the woods where the mushrooms could be found. The idea to forage for ourselves was becoming more real to me, more appealing. Yesterday afternoon after the rain we decided to look for ourselves.We brought along a bucket, a knife and a single chanterelle to help with identification. What we found however were these......

These guys are lobster mushrooms, we found them just sticking out of the moss on the side of the trail. We took them into town and were told that there is no other mushroom that looks remotely like them. So in other words they cannot be mistaken for another. They are edible and have a slight lobster odor when cooking. I decided to tackle them another day, maybe a mushroom pasta dish. Here's is a link about lobster mushrooms on "Wikipedia." . Today, however it's the Wild mushroom risotto with the chanterelles.

To clean the chanterelles I used a small mushroom brush and a wet paper towel to wipe the tops. I cut them about the same size as the sliced cremini mushrooms I was combining them with. The risotto turned out creamy and rich, real comfort food. I served with a spinach salad and a glass of white wine. Recipe is from a cooking class I took with a friend at "Sur La Table"


1 onion (diced)
1 clove garlic (minced)
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound fresh chanterelle mushrooms
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley plus a little for garnish
1 bay leaf
1 cup Arborio rice
4 to 5 cups chicken broth or water
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
Salt and pepper

To prepare:

In a medium pan heat chicken broth or water, and keep warm over low heat.

In the meantime in a large heavy pot add 1 tablespoon olive oil, then onions and garlic, stirring frequently until translucent. Add butter, mushrooms, herbs and bay leaf and cook about 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine, cook until evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.

Add rice and stir until well coated. Now stir in one cup of warm broth and stir until evaporated. Add more broth continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb the liquid each time. The risotto should be firm and creamy. Remove bay leaf and stir in Parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley. Enjoy!


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