Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Pea and Mint Risotto with Mushroom Bacon


There is an episode of the Young Ones where Neil the hippy serves dinner and tries to pass it off as risotto, but it is actually snow. This is definitely not snow--but a really delicious and cheap risotto from the cookbook A Girl called Jack. 

She uses regular rice instead of more expensive Arborio rice but I still have some Arborio rice in my cupboard so I used that.

It was a really delicious risotto made with white wine, frozen peas. and some fresh mint and parsley from my windowsill.  The juice of half a lemon at the end really brightened the flavours but the real star was the mushroom bacon.

I know…vegans will make bacon out of anything. Some people would argue why make a fake version of something that you don’t want to eat, but my answer is that I want that






Flavour that bacon used to provide.  I don’t want to eat the dead body parts of a pig. I just want flavour. 

Jack says, “To make this dish of ricy goodness even more delicious, stir in some scraps of bacon along with the sliced onion.”

Normally I would buy a packet of smoked tofu for this. The brand we like costs about £3.00 and I can stretch it over two meals making each meal cost £1.50 as far as the smoked tofu part goes. That doesn’t count the cost of all the other ingredients.

I had some mushrooms in the fridge and so I decided to try a recipe for mushroom bacon because it would be cheap. I had the mushrooms and all the other ingredients. Would it taste good? Would it be sufficient to replace smoked tofu which was replacing bacon?

I thinly sliced half a pounds worth of  button mushrooms (this was about 6 mushrooms for me)  and drizzled them with 1 TB tamari soy sauce, 1 tsp liquid smoke and 1 tsp toasted sesame oil.

Then I baked them in a hot oven--425F/220C for 12 - 15 minutes.

They shrank up really small and dried out which intensified their flavour. The taste was rich and savoury and  *amazing*  and they really added an intense pop of flavour into the risotto. The smell also lingered in the kitchen in a lovely way as well.

I cannot believe how good this was. I always have tamari, toasted sesame oil and liquid smoke in my kitchen and it needed very little of the ingredients to make this work. It also only needed about 50p’s worth of mushrooms to achieve this which is a HUGE savings.

I am not anti-soy but I know that tofu is still a processed product which is why we only eat it about once a week--if that. I prefer to use whole foods in our diet and mushrooms fit the bill.

Plus it’s cheap. We may still splurge on smoked tofu every now and then, but now I know that for 50p worth of mushrooms I can make smoky “bacon” why would I?

edited to add:
I wanted to check to be sure the magic would work in a soup so we have eaten Caldo Verde (Portuguese potato and kale soup) for the last two nights. Again, the smoky mushroom bacon worked its magic and the second day over cornbread (ain’t nothin’ wrong with that) it was absolutely *gorgeous*. The marinated mushrooms added richness to the vegetable broth in an Mmm, mmm, mmm way.

I’m sold.


1 comment:

  1. The picture of the finished dish is lovely and delicious looking