H Mart in Catonsville, and you could add an exotic look to your table.
Yesterday, it seemed like H Mart had mushrooms everywhere -- fancy shapes for a few dollars. I have no idea whether this is mushroom season, whether it's a special buy for the Lunar New Year, or whether I just noticed something that happens all the time.
But I bought mushrooms. A package of regular buttons for 99 cents. Then packages of enoki ($0.99) and beech ($1.99.) It was hard choosing because there were actually multiple packages (and prices) of enoki and then a half dozen other varieties including oyster, king oyster, and shiitake. The enoki and the button varieties are in the first produce aisle, and others -- like the shiitake -- are in the refrigerated case that runs perpendicular to the fruit.
What else do I do with mushrooms? I bought three packages, and that was at least double what I needed for risotto. Any other recipe ideas?
Click here for all my posts about H Mart. If you go to Catonsville, definitely stick your head in the Hanoori Town next door -- for the home store downstairs or for Mango Berry frozen yogurt. And consider stopping for lunch at Hunan Taste, the authentic Chinese restaurant in the same shopping center.
Mushroom and Sausage Risotto
This recipe is best with sausage. You saute some good sausage, which adds some fat to the pot and a lot of flavor to the risotto. I suggest you buy the sausage at one of Howard County's great butchers or at Whole Foods. Handmade sausage is worth the drive. I recommend a mix of mushrooms. Button and beech were terrific. The enoki shrank to the size of threads. Cool, but I recommend you try something else.
Five or six dried shiitake mushrooms (less than a full one ounce package)
About 3/4 c. hot water
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 link of mild pork sausage (about a quarter pound) or 2 TBL olive oil
1 medium onion, minced
2-3 cups of fresh mushrooms, with large ones chopped
1-2 TBL butter (optional)
1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
Salt and pepper
1) Soak the dried mushrooms in the hot water. Heat the stock to simmering, then reduce the heat to just keep the stock warm.
2) Once the mushrooms are soft, slice them and save the hot water.
3) Break up the sausage. Handmade sausage should be inside a casing, and the raw sausage will break up if you slice the casing open and pull out the filling. Heat a heavy pot over medium heat, then add the sausage and saute it until fat starts to appear in the pan and the meat just starts to brown. It doesn't need to be cooked through. (If you want vegetarian, skip the sausage and add the olive oil. Add a 1/2 tsp salt with the onion and mushrooms.)
4) Add the onion and about 2/3 of the mushrooms. Saute them until the vegetables are tender -- about 10 minutes. Add the butter. Once it melts, add the rice and stir until the rice is coated with butter. The rice will lighten on the edges so that you see a dark spot inside.
5) Add the hot water that you used to soak the mushrooms. Let the liquid bubble. Begin adding the stock about 1/2 cup at a time. Stir every minute or so. Add more stock when the liquid is almost absorbed. Look for the time when your spoon creates a line on the bottom of the pan that takes a moment for the liquid to fill.
6) After you have added about two cups of stock, add the remaining mushrooms. After about 15 minutes, start tasting the rice. You want tender rice with a firm spot in the middle, but it's a matter of personal taste. Once the rice reaches the level that you like, add salt and pepper to your taste. (You may have some leftover stock. Save it.)
Variation: Buy two one-ounce dried shiitake packages. You could use those to replace all the fresh mushrooms. That converts this recipe into a "pantry staples" idea. If you keep a few sausages in the freezer, you could make risotto when you're trapped in a snow storm. Like in June.