Wild pine mushrooms, they are one of the most delicious things. They fruit in Autumn when the weather is cool enough and the rains arrive after our long dry Summer. *See another of our mushroom recipes here just up on the Smith Journal blog.
There is something deeply satisfying about climbing the hills in search of something you know will nourish you. It is one of the most amazing, calm and peaceful places we have ever been. There is a silence there that is incomparable, you can hear every footstep, every breaking branch, every movement of the wind. It's so quiet that it's strange.
Of course there is a reason for that strangeness. The reality of pine forests in Australia is that they are a massive monoculture, almost devoid of life due to their very strangeness to our native wildlife. A forest should be alive with noise. But except for a few birds and the occasional introduced deer, these forests harbour no animals. They are literally just hectares of a single species of tree all growing for later harvest.So while we approach the forest, driven as always by the sustainability of it's ecology, we needn't bother - we know it will all ultimately be destroyed. Something good, from something not so good. It's a beautiful thing.
Serves 4 // Time 1.5 hours
There are four main types of edible mushrooms that we find in our forest. This dish is a celebration the Saffron Milk Cap. At this time of year, you may be able to find them at your local health food store or farmers market, or if you can’t access them you can replace with any mushroom really.
PLEASE NOTE Wild mushrooms are something that you absolutely need to learn about properly before you go out foraging. There are a lot of poisonous mushrooms in the forest and it’s absolutely essential you know what you are doing before eating anything!
- Combine stock and white wine into a small pot. Bring to a bare simmer and keep hot on your lowest setting. You will need this later.
- Heat a large pot or pan to medium heat. Add some olive oil, the peppercorns, spring onions and parsley stems – fry until just fragrant.
- Add crushed garlic and fry until just fragrant.Turn the pot up to high, add whole mushrooms and a generous splash of olive oil.
- Put lid on and sweat for approximately 5 minutes. Don’t stir unless it’s beginning to burn.When the mushrooms have just started to really cook (initially they just drop their water content), turn the pot back down to a medium heat.
- Add pumpkin and fry for 5 minutes, stirring every minute. Add rice, turmeric and seaweed and fry for 5 minutes, stirring every minute. (Stirring infrequently here is essential to flavour as it allows the ingredients to brown).
- Add a splash of white wine to lift the flavours off the base of the pot.Now, turn the pot down to a low heat and slowly begin to feed in the stock/white wine liquid you prepared earlier. With the pot lid remaining off from now on, add just enough liquid to barely cover the the rice/vegetable mixture. NO MORE STIRRING FROM THIS POINT
- An occasional little shake won't hurt though. You will now use the liquid to top the pot up every 5-10 minutes or so to keep that mixture just barely covered. Do this until you have used all of the liquid and/or the rice is no longer crunchy and the mixture is “al dente”.Once cooked, gently stir through chopped parsley. To serve, add salt, lemon juice and a splash of olive oil to taste. Serve with or without cheese.
- It is essential to this recipe that salt is not added until the end – it will prevent the rice from cooking properly.
- Keeping the stock and white wine mixture hot also helps the risotto to cook well and prevents it from cooling down throughout the cooking process.
-Butter can be added for additional flavour.
2 cups of short grain brown rice – soaked overnight in 2 cups of water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, then strained.
2 cups of stock (we used chicken stock)
1 cup of white wine
Small bunch of parsley, leaves chopped coarsely, stems chopped finely
300-400g of saffron milk cap mushrooms whole (if large, cut into quarters)
1 kg of pumpkin, skin left on and cut into small cubes
3 cloves of garlic
4 spring onions (or one onion/shallot) finely chopped
1 teaspoon of ground pink peppercorns or black pepper if you haven't access to some
1 teaspoon of turmeric
Sea salt to taste
A few tablespoons of extra white wine