August 17, 2011

Dairy Free Mushroom Risotto: The Naturally Gluten Free Italian Classic

As I told you on Monday, myself and my friend C. were on the road to the Aran Islands for a camping exhibition on Inisheer. We had headed out the previous Wednesday and despite the pouring rain we soldiered on. C. had her wise doubts but I was determined! I had carefully planned our allergy free meals for the following days and had measured out all of the ingredients and spices needed into plastic baggies and wrapped up each bundle into meal packs and was dying to cook up a less threatening storm! I was also very pleased with my Virgoan organization and couldn’t wait to show-off to C. who I knew would be thoroughly impressed.
Despite the foreboding weather forecast, the stormy sky, the pelting rain and the strong cross-winds which were only getting worse as we motored closer to the west we persisted... with C. getting more doubtful by the mile and me egging her on with images of cozy tents and fun ponchos!

Needless to say, by the time we got to the most beautiful Ballyvaughan, located in the heart of the Burren, Co. Clare (my home for the first two years of my Irish life) we couldn’t even see the far mountain through the mist and rain. We decided to stop for a very difficult allergy-free lunch in the pretty Tea Rooms and Gardens before heading on to Doolin to catch the ferry. Note: We were dripping after just going from the car to the café!

As we looked out we saw a small boat in the harbor which was being pelted around in circles by the wind... And then to our great surprise, we received the call: All ferries were cancelled due to the weather. Hahahahha! A happier call had never been received!
Relieved that we no longer HAD to spend drenched miserable days in a sinking tent we took a short windy wet walk to a Gleninagh castle against the coast before heading to my Mom in Co. Laois where we spent a beautiful few nights in cozy double beds with a wood burning stove, quality pans and a gas top oven with daytrips to my uncle’s farm, the bog and the Wuthering Heights-esque Slieve Bloom Mountains and Kinnity Castle for some fresh, misty exercise!

Seeing as we had all of that beautiful food measured out in the car we carried on with our elaborate camping plans... The highlight of which was definitely the Mushroom Risotto which was easily split into three!

Mushroom Risotto
This Risotto recipe is partly inspired by some foraging friends of mine in Cork and partly inspired by a wonderful cookbook I have, called the ‘The Cook’s Book’

The best thing about risotto is that its dead handy to make, doesn’t cost the earth and is totally hearty and delicious with loads of allergy-free adaptable qualities! A Dry White Wine is recommended but I used Sauvignon Blanc as recommended to me by a food-allergy tester as I can get overly flushed by some wine varieties. And of course, we wanted a nice wine to drink with the risotto so I brought a full-sized bottle!
C. toasted some wholewheat bread, rubbed them with Garlic cloves and drizzled the slices with olive oil for a rustic camp-friendly garlic bread which tasted the biz!

- dairy free
- wheat free
- gluten free
- onion free (contains leek)
- sugar free
- tomato free
- potato free
- corn free
- soya free (with Pure Sunflower Margarine)
- egg free
- vegetarian
- vegan

1.5-2 pints vegetable stock
2tbsp olive oil
50-75g vegan margarine
1 small-medium sized leek finely chopped (just the white & light green portion)
275g risotto/arborio rice
50g(or to taste) dried mushrooms rehydrated and chopped (porcini or similar)
75ml white wine (alternative: water mixed with cider vinegar)

For the stock:
If you don’t have any pre-made or pre-bought stock you can
1. Put 2 pints water in a large saucepan and throw in a bay leaf, a lashing of dried mixed herbs, 1-3 cloves of garlic (optional), sea salt and ground black pepper to taste, half a carrot (optional), a stalk of celery (optional) and the discarded dark green portion of your leek (the upper half).
2. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes. I also like to strain in the left over water from the re-hydrated mushrooms. Alternatively you could put in 2-3 dried mushrooms into the pot while simmering.
3. When complete, drain the stock through a sieve, and Voilá! Stock ready for your Risotto!

For the Risotto:
1. Heat the stock and keep at a gentle simmer.
2. Melt half the dairy free, vegan margarine in a large, deep pan (a wide pot will do if necessary) and sauté the leek. Be careful to keep the heat low and sauté the leek slowly because leek can easily burn or get tough and papery if cooked too quickly. Continue this until the leek is soft.
3. Add the rice and mix being sure to thoroughly coat each grain in the fat
4. Add the wine and cook until it absorbs, stirring continuously.
5. Add the stock into the pan one ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. Do not add another ladleful until the previous one is completely absorbed.
6. When half of the stock has been absorbed add in the re-hydrated chopped mushrooms and stir well.
7. Resume adding the stock ladle by ladle until all stock is used up. It should take about 25 minutes from step 5-7 and the rice should be soft but with a bit of a bite. Risotto rice becomes very starchy but each grain should remain separate and retain it’s shape.
8. Stir in the rest of the margarine (this step is optional)
9. Let sit for 2 or so minutes, Season with sea salt and ground black pepper to taste and serve.

1 comment:

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Now even though I detest camping...your blog post is lovely and the pix of Ireland are great! I've only been once but there was soo much rain. And risotto? The perfect comfort food. thanks for your visit chez moi! Pig x