mushroom and tea, risotto

The odd Couple
 The earthy of notes mushrooms and tea make a surprising match in Chereie's twist on risotto

 i love mushrooms with juniper and have a quiet obsession with tea, so the idea for this meal happened almost by itself. The great thing about using tea in cooking is that you begin to notice how ‘tea like' certain foods can be. Mushrooms, for example -or maybe it’s the tea that can be mushroom-like? At any rate, they go together beautifully from a flavour point of view, and the colour combination is also a lovely thing with the caramel of the steeped tea adding that perfect tone to the finished risotto-we could call it Swiss brown! Don't be afraid to make a good strong brew of tea for this recipe because the stock will balance it out. And ensure you use a full-flavoured loose-leaf tea; no tea bags allowed! No need for added cheese in this risotto, as the tea takes the dish in a completely different direction. You could easily leave out the butter, too, if you'd like to make it completely dairy free. Delicious and good for you!

mushroom and  tea, risotto
Serves 2
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
40g unsalted butter
1 onion, finely chopped
15Dg Swiss brown mushrooms, sliced
1 cup (220g) arborio or carnaroli rice
2 cups (500ml)brewed good-quality breakfast tea, strained, heated
2 tsp dried juniper berries. roughly crushed
2 cups (500ml) vegetable stock, heated
200g chestnut mushrooms* or extra sliced Swiss brown mushrooms Chopped flat-leaf parsley, to serve

Heat half the oil and half the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and Swiss brown mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice, stirring to coat the grains. Begin adding the tea, a ladletul at a time, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has been absorbed. Stir in the crushed juniper berries. When all of the lea has been absorbed, begin adding the stock, a ladleful at a time. Continue to cook, adding alittle stock at a time, until the rice is tenden This will take about 20 minutes. Season well. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tbs oil and 20g butter in a frypan over medium-high heat. Add the chestnut mushrooms and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until golden. Season. To serve, stir parsley through risotto and top with the chestnut mushrooms. * From selected greengrocers.

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