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Mushroom Risotto (with roast tenderloin and carrots)

September 16, 2008

Normally when you think of a meal the meat is what defines it… well sometimes a side dish might take over of the show. Risotto has always been one of those types of side dishes for me. I find it interesting the many different ways rice is prepared in different cultures: paella, fried rice, rice pudding, Caribbean rice and beans, jambalaya… I feel like Forest Gump.

This is a 4 pan meal, sorry for the cleaning you will have to do after words. It serves about 4 (or 2 plus a lunch with the leftovers).

For the Risotto

– arborio or short grain rice, about 3 cups

– mushrooms, about 3 cups of rough chopped oyster, shitake, and button mushrooms

– butter, 1/4 stick

– olive oil

– white wine, 1/4 cup

– chicken stock, 1 quart plus 1/2 a cup of water

– fresh thyme, a small handful of leaves picked from stems.

– salt

For the Roast Beef Tenderloin

– 1 to 1 1/2 lb beef tenderloin roast ( I used the narrow end furthest from the tail)

– cracked peppercorns, about 2 handfuls

– kosher salt, 1 small handful

– olive oil

For the carrots:

– 8 narrow carrots, washed and trimmed

– olive oil

– brown sugar, 2 tablespoons

– fresh thyme, tablespoon or so of the leaves

– ground cummin, a couple pinches

– 1/4 stick of butter

– nutmeg, 1 pinch

– kosher salt, about 2 large pinches

Beef Tenderloin:  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly coat your tenderloin in olive oil.  On a plate mix up your salt and cracked peppercorns and roll the tenderloin in the salt and pepper mixture evenly coating it.  Place in a snug fitting roasting dish and and cook for about 30 to 35 minutes for a medium finish.  Towards the end of the cook time you may need to cover the roast in tin foil to avoid over cooking the outside.  You want to get some nice browning on the outside though.  Let the meat rest for about 10 minutes, then slice across the grain about 1″ thick.

Carrots:  In a medium saute pan over medium heat add the olive oil, carrots, nutmeg, brown sugar, cummin, and salt.  Cook for about 10 minutes or so, turning the carrots and shaking the pan every so often.  Now add your thyme and butter.  Cook for another 10 minutes until the carrots are tender, stirring every so often.  

Risotto:  You’ll need three pans for this.  In a medium sauce pan start boiling your chicken stock and water.  Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat.  Add a good glug of olive and swirl around.  Then add your rice and get all of the grains evenly coated in the oil.  Next add your wine and stir the rice around to absorb the white wine.  Keep sauteing for a few minutes to cook off the alcohol.  Reduce the heat on your chicken stock to a simmer.  Now begin adding a ladleful of the hot chicken stock to the rice one at a time until the rice is just covered in liquid.  Stir the rice gently as it absorbs the hot stock.  Reduce your heat to medium-low.  Once it appears almost dry add another ladle of stock, and frequently stir the rice mixture.  Repeat this process until the rice is cooked slightly al dente.  The idea of this is sort of like slow cooking the rice.  You may not use all of your chicken stock or you may need to add a bit more liquid to simmering stock just before you finish.   This process will take about 17 to 25 minutes depending upon your heat levels.    About 10 minutes before finishing your risotto, saute your mushrooms in a separate saute pan with a bit of olive oil and a table spoon of butter.  Once the mushrooms are cooked, stir in the mushrooms, thyme and remaining butter to your risotto.  Salt to taste.  You are aiming for a risotto that sort of oozes after you spoon it on to the plate.  It shouldn’t pile up like regular rice, or run like a stew would.  If it is too dry add a little more butter to get it a little creamier. 

Spoon your risotto to one side of the plate, fan a few slices of tenderloin in the middle, and book end your carrots.  Serve and enjoy.

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