Monday, April 25, 2011

Swiss Chard & Mushroom Risotto - Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free

It was time to clean out the pantry and I found some Arborio rice that was calling my name. It was time to make risotto. Our swiss chard it growing like crazy in the backyard, so it found our way into the risotto along with some local Kitchen Pride mushrooms

We have some friends (who also happen to be vegetarians) returning from their honeymoon and we wanted to leave them a little something in the fridge so that they didn't have to cook dinner as soon as they arrived home. Risotto seemed like a great option and can be heated up the next day as a quick lunch as well. 

Most of it can be prepared in stages, except for the last 15-20 minutes. Like any risotto, there can be no telephone answering, parenting or multitasking. You must stand and stir and do nothing else or you will be sure to burn your risotto. Trust me. 

Swiss Chard & Mushroom Risotto
Adapted from Martha Stewart's French Lentil and Swiss Chard Risotto
*We increased the amount of rice and liquid in this recipe to serve 6-8, so you'll have some leftover for lunches or sides!

2 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/3 cup French green lentils, rinsed and uncooked
1 large bunch of organic swiss chard, rinsed and thinly sliced, discard the larger stems, but slice the smaller stems thinly (we used some from our garden and some that came in our CSA box from Johnson's Backyard Garden)
4 cups organic vegetable or mushroom broth, homemade roasted vegetable stock recipe
2 garlic cloves or green garlic from Milagro Farms
1 sweet 1015 onion, sliced into rounds and then halved, Milagro Farms at Wednesday's SFC Austin Farmers' Market
1/2 container of Kitchen Pride Mushrooms, we chose their "Baby Bellas", cut into pieces
2/3 cup Texas dry white wine of your choice
1 bay leaf and 6-8 sprigs of thyme (reserve half to add to the rice later) save some for garnish, we plucked ours from our garden
1-2 smoke dried tomatoes from Boggy Creek Farms, chopped into small pieces
olive oil, Texas Olive Ranch
Herbs de Provence, Becker Vineyards
1 tsp Earth Balance butter
salt and pepper

1. In a saucepan, add 6 cups of water, 3 sprigs of thyme and 1 bay leaf. Bring water to a boil and let the thyme and bay leaf simmer for 6 minutes before adding the lentils. Simmer lentils for 15-20 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside. 

2. In a skillet, add a small amount of olive oil and heat to medium. Add swiss chard and cook until just wilted, but still bright green. Set aside in a colander to drain excess liquid. 

3. In a small saucepan beside a larger heavy dutch oven, add the broth and 2 cups of water and simmer. You'll want to have a ladle to add the broth to the rice.     

4.  In the dutch oven, heat olive oil on medium, add onion, mushrooms, smoke dried tomatoes, Herbs de Provence, butter, garlic and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon and cook until soft but not browned. Add rice and thyme. 

5. Once the ends of the rice are translucent, at the white wine and stir until absorbed, stirring constantly. 

6. Turn the heat up to medium high, add salt and pepper. Add 1/2 cup of broth at a time. Make sure liquid is absorbed before adding more. Stir constantly for around 15-20 minutes until rice is creamy but still a little firm. 

7. Remove from heat, add lentils and swiss chard. Serve immediately. **If you can have cheese, grated Parmesan cheese would be fabulous on top!

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