Prep 5 mins Cook 30 mins Soak Mushrooms 20 mins Eat 40 mins
I got an early Christmas gift from Martha Stewart. Well, at least it has her name on the new Brazier that arrived at my door from GigaSavvy. I love the color – eggplant. I put it on my cooktop to show it off. I started to incorporate this heavy and sturdy vessel into my cooking immediately.
The last thing I need is more cooking equipment. Where to store it? But now after working with my new brazier since it arrived at Thanksgiving, I can’t do without it. I don’t need a place to store it, because it is always on my cooktop ready to go to work and I love it. Growing up, my mother always had an old black cast iron pan on top of our stove and when I started cooking, I went for more modern stainless cookware. But now I understand why cast iron is valued. The beauty of my new brazier is that the cast iron is covered in a pretty enamel, so you don’t have to season it and it won’t rust.
Here’s what I’ve made so far with it.
On Thanksgiving Day I sauteed my vegetables for the cornbread stuffing I made and the brazier was big enough to add the stuffing mix right into the pan, eliminating the need to dirty another bowl, which is a definite advantage on the biggest cooking day of the year!
Then I tested a recipe I’m planning for my February Cooking Class where we’ll be making an elegant Valentine dinner.
I haven’t gotten to braising yet – I think that will happen during the dark winter months, when you want to curl up on the sofa with a good book and have something going in the kitchen for an extended time. I have visions of Osso Bucco or Coq au Vin simmering in my new brazier.
It turns out, I’m making quick meals during the holiday rush and this is one of my favorites – a Wild Mushroom Risotto. It’s quick and easy to make once you have your mise en place (everything in its place). While mushrooms are soaking (I used matsutake mushrooms I was given from Marx Foods), prep ingredients and get your onion cooking. Dice onion, slice mushrooms, slice prosciutto, mince herbs and measure ingredients. A word about chicken broth. In this recipe, I’ve used the liquid remaining from the mushroom soaking and then added one of my favorite products Better than Bouillion chicken base to it…one teaspoon per cup. I’ve also added more water to create more broth. You could also use homemade stock.
When you first put your oil and onions in the brazier, don’t expect it to sizzle. It takes awhile for the cast iron to heat up, but when it does, it has a nice even heat throughout the surface and you don’t have to worry about hot spots where the burner is located.
Making risotto seams tricky, but it just requires some patience. You add each ingredient individually and then give it a couple minutes to cook. It requires occasional stirring when you are adding broth. You don’t want anything to stick to the pot, so continually add more liquid just before your pan goes dry. It is important to wait until you are serving the dish, to add the final 1/2 cup or more broth or cream, so that it appears creamy, not dry on the plate.
Another advantage I discovered about my new Martha Stewart Brazier is that when you complete the dish, the contents remains warm from the cast iron while you get ready to plate the dish or your family comes back for seconds, which you will do when you taste this dish.
Wild Mushroom Risotto
This dish cannot be made with long grain rice. Ideally use an Italian or Spanish short grain rice such as arborio. If you can’t find that, try a medium grain rice
- 1/2 ounce wild mushrooms dried
- 3 Tbs olive oil
- 1 cup diced onion
- 2 cups arborio or Spanish Rice or medium grain
- 8 ounces mushrooms sliced
- 3+ cups chicken broth made from 3+ tsp Bouillion base
- 1/2 cup sherry or dry white wine
- 3 slices prosciutto ham
- 1/2 cup light cream (optional)
- 2 Tbs fresh herbs, such as basil, oregano, marjoram
- 4 Tbs Parmesan cheese grated
1. Rinse off and soak wild mushrooms in 2 cups hottest water for 20-30 minutes.
2. While mushrooms are soaking, prep ingredients. Dice onion, add olive oil to brazier or skillet on med-low heat. Cook onions until translucent, then add rice and stir to coat each rice granule with oil. Cook for another 3 minutes on medium heat.
3. After adding rice, drain wild mushrooms and save soaking liquid. Add mushrooms to rice mixture and cook on low for 5 minutes. Add bouillion base to mushroom liquid and add hot water to make 3 cups. Add sherry or white wine to rice mixture, give a stir, then begin to add broth,1/2 cup at a time. Before the pan goes dry, add more liquid and stir. Continue to add liquid until rice becomes al dente. This should take about 15 minutes total. About 10 minutes into it, add sliced prosciutto.
4. When you are ready to serve, you will add the optional cream or another 1/2 cup or more chicken broth and give a stir. Portion immediately onto serving plates. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and minced.herbs.
Servings: 4 646 calories per serving