Monday, 16 August 2010

Mushroom and chocolate risotto

Sylvia has been loving mushrooms lately. I bought some at the supermarket a couple of weeks ago and she could barely contain herself to wait till I had paid before munching on one as I wheeled her down the street in her pram. She even will eat them in the car on the way home from childcare, if I have managed to get to the market at lunchtime.

It is an obsession I have gladly encouraged. How wonderful to have a child begging for vegetables! What a great healthy snack! Gingerbread, Florentines and sultanas will also be gobbled down eagerly but it is nice to know Sylvia is not limiting herself to sweet food.

I find her love of mushrooms perplexing. I have never been one of those people who just can’t get enough mushrooms. I have learnt to love them as an adult but often find myself keeping a wary distance from the much-admired funghi.

So it is odd that lately some of my strangest kitchen experiments have been with mushrooms. Firstly there was the mushroom and rhubarb soup More recently I couldn’t resist trying Choclette’s Mushroom and Chocolate Risotto. Mind you this isn’t the first time I have had chocolate in a savoury risotto (she says with a casual toss of the head). I loved it in a beetroot risotto last year.

Mushrooms and cocoa seemed a great combination. However I think I overcooked my goose, or, rather, was a bit heavy handed with the seasoning. Too much stock powder and then using Dutch cocoa made it a very intense experience, almost like a gravy. (Sigh! Perhaps I should have followed Choclette’s recipe more closely!) It was better on the second night with more vegetables. I would not use as much again but I would recommend a sparing amount of cocoa with mushrooms.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Shopping, Sylvia and Soup
This time three years ago: BBoM Raspberry Brownies for Two

Mushroom and chocolate risotto
Adapted from Choclette
Serves 4
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 generous cup Arborio rice
  • 450g button mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 tbsp whisky (because I didn't have any white wine)
  • 5 cups hot water, or as required
  • 2 tsp stock powder (or salt to taste)
  • 1-3 tsp cocoa (I used 3 and think it was too much)
  • 1 dash of smoked paprika
  • handful parsley and rocket
  • parmesan cheese to serve (optional)
Mix butter and olive oil in a stockpot over low heat until butter is melted. Add onion and a pinch of salt. Stir until onion is translucent (I think this took about 10-15 min). Add garlic and stir for about a minute. Add rice and stir a few minutes (I fried it for about 10-15 minutes while I chopped the mushrooms). Add mushrooms and stir for about 5 minutes until they soften.

Add whisky and stir until absorbed. Stir in about 1½ tsp stock powder. Add hot water (I boil the kettle and use this water) about ½ a cup at a time. Keep the heat hot enough so the rice keeps gently simmering and absorbing each addition of water. When the rice is plump and cooked when tasted you have added enough water. This took me about 20-30 minutes.

Stir in 1 tsp cocoa and dash of paprika. Taste and check seasoning. Add more stock powder, salt and cocoa as required, taking into account if you are serving with parmesan cheese. Stir through some parsley and rocket. Serve hot, with cheese if required, and with salad or vegetables.

On the stereo:
Children of Lir: Loudest whisper


  1. Now that is an unusual sounding recipe. I wondered if it were going to be sweet (like sometimes you get fungi in desserts) or a savoury one!

  2. Mushroom and chocolate risotto
    Chocolate ... in risotto ... well one has to try because there are those times that what seems crazy really works and takes things to a wonderful new level.
    Lovely photo of the mushrooms.

  3. I must say that I had to do a double take when I saw the title of this post!Mushroom AND chocolate! What an interesting combination!

  4. You *know* I'll have to try this! Mushrooms and smoked paprika and cocoa? I'M SO IN. Thanks for the recipe!!

  5. Johanna - so glad you tried the recipe but a shame it didn't quite work for you. Getting the right balance of chocolate to mushrooms is tricky. And I guess using powdered cocoa rather than chocolate will make a difference.

  6. Thanks Lorraine - have not heard of fungi in sweet desserts - am curious!

    Thanks Tanna - I agree you've got to try - even if you discover that there is such a thing as too much cocoa!

    Thanks Lisa - I was amazed when I saw the post on choclette's blog

    Thanks Hannah - yes please try and go easy on seasoning and cocoa to prove that is the wise thing to do!

    Thanks Choclette - I am glad I have discovered the mushrooms and chocolate go well together - though I feel a bit silly for misreading your grated cocoa as cocoa powder - never heard of cocoa that can be grated - does that mean some sort of chocolate - would probably have been better off following your recipe more closely!

  7. Wow I'm really intrigued by the use of cocoa powder in risotto! I'm not sure I'm that brave. How nice that Sylvia loves munching on veggies. :) I like mushrooms but for a while was really sick of them because when I'd go out to eat, the only vegetarian option often seemed to be mushroom risotto!

  8. Wow, I'd never have thought of whisky or cocoa in a mushroom risotto. I'm intrigued that you would still recommend cocoa and mushroom together, just not in as large quantities - I wonder if it would work in a mushrooms on toast type combination?

  9. Wow thats a new one to try. I've used cocoa in bean stew dishes, but never risotto. Can imagine it goes well with the earthy mushrooms.
    I'm impressed S likes mushrooms, most people can't stand them until they've reached teen years. Shes so adventurous

  10. Thanks Ashley - I think you have pinpointed one of my problems with mushrooms - just how much it is offered as the one vegetarian option - I get tired of that too

    Thanks Sophie - I don't really do mushrooms on toast but if you mean frying them in butter to serve on toast then maybe you could add a little cocoa towards the end of frying - would be interested to hear if you try it

    Thanks Katie - I'm impressed with sylvia and then mushrooms too because it took me years to appreciate them - but unfortunately she is whimsical as well as adventurous - so hope mushrooms remain on the favoured list for a while yet

  11. Sorry to confuse you Johanna, my mistake. I should probably have been more explicit. Willie's cacao is not cocoa, it is a bar of 100% chocolate solids - so no added sugar or anything else. I have now put a link in so you can see what I'm on about. I suspect it's probably not available in Oz, but could easily be substituted by as dark a chocolate as possible.

  12. really? I'm not getting that combo. But then I am the worlds worst rice maker - usually ends up stodgy or burnt!

  13. Sounds interesting! Did you see Heston Blumenthal's Feasts last not - he did a Magic Mushroom dish with jellied mushroom and mushroom consomme, complete with little painted mushrooms on top.

  14. I read the post title and thought I'd gotten it wrong--"chocolate" and "mushroom risotto". But no! I've had chocolate in savory dishes before, too--made an amazing mole the other week--but never would think of adding it to a mushroom dish! Sounds intriguing, even if one must go lightly on the cocoa. ;) And how wonderful to have a child who enjoys veggies as snacks! Yay Sylvia!

  15. I made it with 2 Tbs cocoa (didn't see the unsweetened chocolate directive either!) with half fresh mushrooms and half soaked dried shiitakes. It turned out pretty well, but I felt like it needed... something at the end. That might have just been salt (I added some cheese when I served and that added a kick, but the flavour of the cheese was a bit overpowering). I also added the cocoa well before it was done absorbing, so that might make a difference, too. :)

    ~Sarah B

  16. What an interesting combination! I would never have thought to put the two together.


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