Quinoa mushroom risotto

Since living in France, I’ve been having trouble trying to get my hands on some quinoa. Fortunately a few weeks ago my wonderful Mum brought me three large bags from the UK. Along with some shiitake mushrooms that I had left in her kitchen cupboard.

I had tried a quinoa risotto in New Zealand at the beginning of the year, which was nice but a bit bland. Since then I have been working on my own version. The welcomed arrival of the shiitake mushrooms has enabled me to finish it. I am proud of this recipe as it so tasty and satisfying. It will be the perfect Autumnal meal for when I return to the UK. Having said that, it went down a treat in Nice even with the sticky, hot, humidity at the moment.

Serves 4

  • 400g quinoa
  • 1l mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
  • 200g closed cup mushrooms
  • 160g chestnut mushrooms
  • 15g dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Soak the dried shiitake mushrooms for 30 minutes in hot water and cover with cling film. In the meantime finely slice the garlic and shallots.

Prepare the fresh mushrooms by removing the stalk and brushing off any dirt with a paper towel. Slice the fresh mushrooms into thick slices. Prepare the mushroom or vegetable stock in a saucepan and keep on a low heat.

After 30 minutes remove the shiitake mushrooms and finely slice. Reserve the soaking liquid for later on.

Heat the olive oil a large shallow frying pan on a high heat and add the shallots and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes until they have softened. Add the sliced fresh mushrooms and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to a medium temperature and add the quinoa, coat in the olive oil and vegetable mix. Add the dried mixed herbs and 6 tbs of the reserved liquid from the shiitake mushrooms. Once absorbed add a third of the stock. Cook on a low simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the pan is dry. Add the second third of the stock, cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring continuously.

To finish add the last third of the stock along with fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Cook for another 5 minutes or until the stock has been absorbed. You should be left with a thick soupy consistency.

Serve on its own, in a big bowl with just a fork and enjoy.

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