Pork, Peaches and Porcinis

The plan for tonight was to make a fava bean risotto with prosciutto and mozzarella.  The Kroger didn’t have fresh fava beans and I was not inclined to search the city.  Kroger did have on sale a mixture of fresh chopped porcini, cremini and oyster mushrooms.  And as it turned out I had some goat cheese that was nearing the end of its life so I found a risotto recipe with those elements.  That’s the great thing about risotto.  You can put pretty much anything in it.  I had a thick cut pork chop that I sliced horizontally to make two portions and served with the peach chutney that I canned last summer when peaches were in season.  A truly lovely meal all around. 

For the pork chops coat a cast iron or other heavy skillet with cooking spray and heat until it begins to smoke.  Salt and pepper both sides of each pork chop.  Add the chops to the pan and cook 3-5 minutes on each side depending on their thickness.  Add the chutney in the last minute of cooking just to heat through.  Remove from heat and set aside 5-7 minutes while the risotto finishes.

I substituted fresh mushrooms for dried.  The only issue with that is that you don’t have the “broth” that comes from reconstituting dried mushrooms.  I saved about 1/2 C of the mushrooms and simmered them in water to make a little mushroom broth to go with the chicken stock and add flavor to the risotto. The goat cheese provides a nice tangy counterpoint to the earthy flavor of the mushrooms. The peach chutney lends a little brightness to the plate and the tangy flavor pairs nicely with the goat cheese in the risotto.  

The key to risotto is to leave yourself enough time to make it.  Allow 30-35 minutes just for the stirring portion after the chopping is all done and the broth heated.  I find that cranking the tunes and pouring a glass of wine to sip while you stir makes it a pretty pleasurable experience.  I portioned out one serving to have with the other pork chop and saved the rest to make into risotto cakes to take to book club later in the week.  The recipe below reflects my changes.  Click on the recipe title to link to the original from Food & Wine.
Good? Very
Easy? Yes, just takes time
Good for company? It’s a fairly elegant meal and easy to serve, but you’ll spend the last 30 minutes before dinner in the kitchen stirring the risotto. Serve it as risotto cakes if you want to make it ahead.
Special shopping? I happened to have peach chutney in the house because I canned some last summer. Otherwise I probably wouldn’t keep that on hand.

Mushroom Risotto with Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 cups chopped fresh assorted mushrooms (porcini, cremini, oyster, shitake, etc)
  • 2  cups  hot water, more if needed
  • 3 1/2  cups  canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock, more if needed
  • 3  tablespoons  olive oil
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 5  cloves garlic, minced
  • 2  cups  arborio rice
  • 1 1/4  teaspoons  salt
  • 2  tablespoons  butter
  • 1/4  teaspoon  fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2  ounces  mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, crumbled
  • Grated Parmesan, for serving

Preparation

1. Set aside 1/2C of the mushrooms and add to the hot water.  Simmer 10 minutes to make a mushroom broth.  Add to the pot with the chicken stock and heat to a simmer.  Do not boil.  Keep warm.

2. In a medium pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped mushrooms, the rice, and the salt and stir until the rice begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes.

3. Add about 1/2 cup of the simmering broth to the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the broth has been completely absorbed. The rice and broth should bubble gently; adjust the heat as needed. Continue cooking the rice, adding broth 1/2 cup at a time and allowing the rice to absorb it before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook the rice in this way until tender, 25 to 30 minutes in all. The broth that hasn’t been absorbed should be thickened by the starch from the rice. You may not need to use all of the liquid, or you may need more broth or some water.

4. Stir in the butter, pepper, and goat cheese. Serve the risotto with grated Parmesan.

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